AAA: Florida fuel supply could take 'a week' to normalize

A container ship is seen sailing up river past the historic district of Savannah Ga. to the Port of Savannah on May 11. Savannah’s port closed ahead of Irma could reopen as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday morning

A container ship is seen sailing up river past the historic district of Savannah Ga. to the Port of Savannah on May 11. Savannah’s port closed ahead of Irma could reopen as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday morning

In Tampa, the only large Gulf Coast port in the path of the storm, officials said damage and flooding were minor, and the port expected to reopen fully Tuesday afternoon.

Three petroleum vessels are expected to bring fuel into Port Tampa Bay when it reopens to deliver to Tampa Bay area gas stations and across Central Florida. About 60 percent of gas stations in the Gainesville area were without gas and 51 percent of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale's 1,545 gas stations didn't have fuel.

Getting gas has proven problematic in Florida during Irma. There are now about 10 ships queued up to the northeast of Savannah, waiting out the storm, he said.

"Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully", said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA - The Auto Club Group.

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The port, along with the more automotive-centric port in Brunswick, Ga., had been closed through the weekend.

Gov. Rick Scott said the state is aggressively moving fuel into Florida and has directed the Florida Highway Patrol to escort fuel supply trucks.

The river reached its maximum height at 2:45 p.m. September 11, never rising above the level of the docks at the Garden City Terminal, where on normal days cranes lift modular boxes from massive ships. Florida's seaports are key to the state's petroleum logistics network, and the Coast Guard is working as quickly as possible to reopen them safely.

The gasoline pipeline terminal in Orlando reopened Tuesday morning, said Ricky Joshi, manager of distributor Sunstate Oil in Orlando.

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After that, these long lines at the pump will hopefully be a thing of the past.

Gas lines returned to The Villages on Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Many stations were still without power as 70 percent of Seminole County and 50 percent of customers in Orange County are without electricity as of Tuesday morning, according to Florida disaster officials.

Saaltink said the main priority remains the safety and wellbeing of everyone.

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