After Wilma, It's Power that's the Problem

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After Wilma, It's Power that's the Problem

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida has plenty of gasoline and diesel fuel, but motorists in the southern part of the state found many stations were unable to pump it because they still lacked power following Hurricane Wilma, reported the Associated Press.

Cars lined up for blocks or miles at stations that did have power, including some with their own generators. At least 200 cars were backed up in both directions on Florida's Turnpike waiting for gas at the Snapper Creek service plaza south of Miami, according to AP.

According to the report, one gas station manager got into shouting matches with people who tried to cut lines in Florida City, forcing police to temporarily shut it down.

"These people need to grow up and act like adults," Maribel Sanchez, who waited 90 minutes for gas at the station, told AP. "Look at us, we've been in line for a long time, why can't they do it."

Most retailers filled their pumps before the hurricane struck Monday, Jim Smith, president and CEO of the Florida Petroleum Marketing and Convenience Store Association, told AP

"We've got tons of product in the retail facilities," Smith said in the report. "All we're missing is electricity."

Florida's ports also were awash with more than 199 million gallons of fuel, at least an eight-day supply at normal usage levels, Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Sarah Williams told AP.

An additional 160 million gallons was scheduled to arrive aboard 37 ships in the next three days, she said.

"It doesn't seem like there's any kind of fuel shortage," Williams told AP. "Everything seems to be moving according to schedule."

The department's daily spot survey of retailers indicated most stations in South Florida had fuel but some were unable to pump it due to power outages or damage to their facilities, Williams said in the report.

Some stations, particularly larger ones along major routes, were pumping gas with generators, Smith said. Smaller stations, however, cannot afford the generators that cost about $75,000, reported AP.