Gas pumps around town were no longer pumping or slowing down in the second half of this week, with the snow and ice creating a temporary shortage.
“We have a little bit of unleaded plus,” Dilip Basnet said Thursday afternoon from his Shell Station on Lamar Avenue across from David House Jewelry. “We were out of unleaded (gas) from two days ago.”
Likewise, many pumps around town, including CEFCO stations and the Murphy USA outside of Walmart were similarly empty or nearly empty. Because of the inclement weather conditions, wholesale gas vehicles have been unable to clear a way to Lamar County, creating a localized shortage.
“They said they would start delivering tomorrow, but we’ll just have to see,” Basnet said, adding it was a tossup if they could make it, depending on how icy the roads were on Friday.
His station was pretty much out of everything, he said.
“It’s not just gas. We have no milk, we have no bread,” Basnet said, adding he was pretty bored at the station with no one coming in.
Meanwhile, up Highway 271 North, the Loves Truck Stop said they had power stop briefly, which shut down the pumps, but other than that, they had plenty of gas.
“We’re getting calls all day,” Misty Stephens, the training manager, said. “We’re actually up and running.”
She added that truckers coming in from Oklahoma were saying roads were drivable, but as the snow and ice melted and refroze, it made it a lot worse.
And through all this, gas prices are rising, according to GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan. The oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico briefly shut down for the weather, which has created a temporary bump in gas prices.
“There’s a bit of a backlog, but there are no systemic shortages,” he said. “Prices will go up 5 to 15 cents, maybe even 20 in the next week or two.”
Because of the pandemic, people overall have been driving less, which has led to a marked decrease in demand, DeHaan added. It might be a while before gas prices start to go down, he said.
“Demand is continuing to recover,” DeHaan said. “OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has not increased production.”
The rise would be the highest prices have been in the past five years, he said.