Missouri Gas Stations Prepare for Eclipse Traffic

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Missouri Gas Stations Prepare for Eclipse Traffic

08/16/2017

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Towns along the path of the total solar eclipse are preparing for the increased visitors for the natural phenomenon.

And although the solar eclipse that will pass over the United States on Aug. 21 is expected to bring heavy traffic to regions where it is visible, experts say that gasoline shortages are unlikely to occur, reported the Southeast Missourian.

"I've seen some of that stuff," said Mike Right, AAA vice president of public affairs, regarding rumors of gas shortages. "It's like it's Armageddon. I doubt that gas stations are going to run out of gasoline because of the eclipse. ... I don't think there's gonna be any kind of 'car-mageddon' associated with it. There may be some spots that do have some extraordinary amounts of traffic, particularly in small communities, but I think we'll get through this real nicely."

He noted that drivers will likely be able to fill up their gas tanks at communities adjacent to those where the eclipse is visible due to the layout of the affected areas.

"I don't know that it's a legitimate concern, but you know it's a good idea, particularly if you're from out of the area, to come into the area with plenty of fuel to get you home," he said. "Modern-day cars, it's not unusual to get 400 miles to a tank full of gasoline, and surely within 400 miles, you'll be able to find gasoline, because you'd be well out of the area covered by the 100-percent eclipse if necessary."

Reminding drivers to use their headlights during the event due to darkness caused by the eclipse may be a more pertinent concern, he added.

Representatives of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association also reassured travelers, according to the report.

Gas stations are "extraordinarily good at making sure supply meets demand, so even if demand temporarily spikes, we're very confident that there will be plenty of supply to meet that demand," said Ronald Leone, executive director of the association. He pointed out that gas retailers are accustomed to supplying travelers during major events.

"[The eclipse] is unprecedented in the sense that it's the eclipse, but obviously there's football games and there's other sporting events, there's festivals, there's all kinds of things that bring people into an area for a short period of time," Leone said. "This is unique, I do agree with that, but it's not unprecedented in the sense that we're going to have an influx of people coming in for an event, and then they're going to go home."

The eclipse may be beneficial to retailers who operate in, around and on the way to the affected area.

"We're hoping it's going to be good for business so that we can generate lots of tax revenue for local and state coffers," Leone said. "The industry is extraordinarily adept at making sure those things meet up, and getting loads of fuel when needed is their forte."

Brent Anderson, vice president of business development and operations for Jackson-based Rhodes 101 Convenience Stores, said that the eclipse is an exciting but "unprecedented" time and that caution is warranted.

Rhodes will "have a plan in place to make sure our locations' fuel tanks are full and we are ready to serve our customers' needs during this exciting time period," Anderson said.