Gasoline lines stretch as quantities diminish around the city

The damage sustained by the oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico from Hurricane Harvey is the main culprit

  • Kroger gas lines in Arlington
    Gas lines begin to wind around the complex at the Kroger on West Lamar Boulevard.
  • QuikTrip (Photo: Ken Costlow/Arlington Voice)
    Drivers wait to pull up to the pump at a QuikTrip station on West Division. (Photo: Ken Costlow/Arlington Voice)
  • QuikTrip prices (Photo: Ken Costlow/Arlington Voice)
    The prices at QuikTrip remain somewhat reasonable. (Photo: Ken Costlow/Arlington Voice)
Ken Costlow

With Tropical Storm Harvey on the way out of the state last night, the aftermath of the destruction along the Texas Coastal Bend was being felt across the state at the gas pumps Thursday.

In Arlington, gas prices had been climbing all week, but the climax occurred when one gas station after another began running out of fuel.

At a QuikTrip on West Division, the station manager was overheard telling drivers that she could let them in line, but she could not guarantee how much longer the fuel would last.

A patron that was pumping his gas at the same station said it was one of the first places he saw on the western fringe of the city that had any semblance of gasoline for purchase.

“I had been to probably five of six places, some closer to downtown,” he said. “This one was the closest to downtown that I had seen that still had gas.”

At a Kroger station on West Lamar Boulevard, one driver reported lines winding all the way around the adjacent Kroger grocery store.

One of the reasons for the petroleum shortages and spikes in gas prices is the battering that the oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico sustained while Harvey was at Category 4 hurricane status.

Many of the refineries have had to cease operations and will require repair to get the fuel flow going again in the state.

QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh said QT has 135 stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but company officials decided to divide the stations into quadrants and keep half of them at full capacity until the crisis subsides.

“If we were to try to supply fuel to all of the stations, there would be outages everywhere,” Thornbrugh said. “This is a better way to manage the fuel supply for all of our customers until the situation gets better – and it will get better. We will have fuel back to all stations soon.”

Thornbrugh said the projected time for all QT station pumps to become operational again will depend on how quickly the refineries are back up and running normally.

He added that drivers can use the QuikTrip website to find which QT stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are fully supplied with gasoline.

Workers at a 7-Eleven station at Park Row and Collins take advantage of the gasoline outages to repaint the carport over the pumps. (Photo: Ken Costlow/Arlington Voice)

According to a statement from State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Texas is home to one-third of all the oil refineries in the United States. The prices are expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks while the damaged refineries remain offline.

Commissioner Miller also suggested that reports of price gouging at the gas pumps should be directed to the consumer protection division of the Texas Attorney General’s office. Thornbrugh insisted, however, that price gouging will not be tolerated at QuikTrip stations.   

An Arlington Voice reader reported seeing a Baines Brothers Petroleum station at N.W. Green Oaks Boulevard and Randol Mill Road charging $6.99 a gallon and insisting on cash-only transactions with no receipts distributed.

Commissioner Miller also wanted to remind all Texans that the state agriculture department oversees fuel quality complaints.

Anyone suspecting that they have received tainted fuel because of water or debris in the facility’s storage tank or fuel pump lines should contact the TDA immediately at 1-800-TELL-TDA so that they may begin an inspection of the facility as soon as possible.

Arlington police spokesperson Lt. Christopher Cook said the police department had seven reports of customers cutting in line or expressing belligerent behavior at various gas stations around the city.