Gasoline demand in various service stations across Florida and other Southeast states was significantly affected by Hurricane Idalia, leading to a decrease in activity, according to the latest retail data from OPIS.
Impact in Florida
On Wednesday, the number of gas stations considered open in Florida was 25% to 35% lower compared to Tuesday’s figures. This decline was particularly noticeable in the Big Bend coastal area, where Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 storm. Many gas stations that were operational on Tuesday remained inactive on Wednesday.
Decrease in Activity
Along Florida’s west coast, stations in Pinellas County, Marion County, and Manatee County experienced declines of 68%, 50%, and 52% respectively by midday on Wednesday compared to the previous day.
Overall Decrease in Active Stations
By 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, OPIS data indicated that there were 4,727 active stations in Florida, marking a 30% decrease compared to the same time on Tuesday.
Impact in Georgia and the Carolinas
While service stations in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas also experienced a decrease in activity from Tuesday to Wednesday, the declines were not as significant as those observed in Florida.
Methodology of Data Collection
OPIS collects data on gas station activities every four hours and considers a retail fuel station active if a payment card was swiped within the previous four-hour period. With a database tracking over 30,000 gas stations nationwide, their retail data provides valuable insights into market trends and dynamics.
Fuel Supply in Florida Unaffected by Hurricane Idalia
According to Ned Bowman, the executive director at the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, most gas stations in Big Bend have reopened after Hurricane Idalia. While some stations were running on backup power, the ones along Florida’s busy I-10 corridor had a steady fuel supply and were largely unaffected by the hurricane.
Bowman emphasized that the upcoming extended Labor Day weekend will not see a significant increase in fuel demand in Florida, except in coastal and island communities like Cedar City that were severely impacted by Idalia. He assured that “the rest of the state is wide open.”
After briefly closing on Wednesday, most product terminals have now reopened. Although Chevron’s Tampa terminal is still without power as of early Thursday, other terminals are up and running.
Kinder Morgan reported that their facilities in Tampa and Charleston, S.C. have resumed operations, and they are currently assessing their facilities in Wilmington, N.C. which are expected to reopen on Friday morning.
Last year, ahead of Hurricane Ian, gasoline demand in Florida spiked by 16.7% from the previous week as residents filled up their tanks. However, demand sharply fell by nearly 18% the following week.
Reporting by Frank Tang