Fuel problems piling up

| Friday, April 21, 2006

It’s not even summer yet, and problems with fuel supplies are already beginning to crop up, as some gas stations in Philadelphia were running short on supplies while others in New Jersey were getting bad supplies altogether.

And the trouble isn’t limited to gasoline stations, either. Flying J reported that one of its stations in Salt Lake City was temporarily closed on Friday, April 21, having run out of fuel. The company gave no word on why the station had run out.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that several stations in that area ran out of gasoline because the changeover from the MTBE additive to an ethanol blend had caused some supply disruptions.

The Inquirer reported that one area refinery was shut down for maintenance, while there were production problems reported at another. The change over from winter blend to summer blend gasoline was also adding to the problems.

Wayne Hummel, spokesman for Liberty Petroleum LLC, a company that supplies 40 stations in the Philadelphia region, told The Inquirer that there are supply problems in both Philadelphia and New York. Four of Liberty’s stations had run out of fuel on Thursday, April 20.

A spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic told The Inquirer that she knew of eight stations in the region that ran out of fuel and that the supply disruptions could continue through the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, a station in New Jersey was having problems of its own. WCBS-TV, a local CBS affiliate, reported that as many as nine gas stations across the state received a batch of watered-down gasoline from Shell Oil Co.

A Shell spokesman told WCBS that a production problem occurred at the refinery level and should be resolved by Wednesday, April 26. About 10,000 gallons of the bad gas was shipped from the refinery.

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