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ORLANDO -- A host of factors, including heavy fog and the rising price of ethanol have caused gas shortages throughout central Florida. A brutal winter causing more Northeasterners to visit Florida has also contributed to the shortage, reported media outlets.
According to Florida's News 13, fuel demand is at a six-year high in central Florida.
"That's because of the lousy weather they are having up north. An awful lot of people are coming down to Florida to escape it," GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Greg Laskoski told the news outlet.
A 7-Eleven Inc. spokesperson added that its stores in the region only have 50 percent of the fuel they need to serve customers, with some stores out of gasoline and others only offering premium fuel.
The news source noted that 7-Eleven is working to get fuel from Tampa, Cape Canaveral and Miami. There have been unconfirmed media reports that some cargoes of gasoline were delayed moving from Houston or New Orleans to Tampa due to heavy fog in the Gulf of Mexico.
"The branded stations like Chevron and Mobil are likely to have their gas right now," Laskoski told News 13. "But it's the unbranded ones like 7-Eleven and Circle K that are most likely to have the problem right now."
Another factor is that Florida is working with "hand-to-mouth" gasoline inventories while the state transitions to summer blend gasoline. This process still has another 40 days to go, reported WTSP.
The central Florida fuel shortage has led the average price of gasoline to increase 13 cents per gallon during the past few weeks to $3.51.
When the fuel shortage will end is anyone's guess. Although fog is clearly a temporary factor, it's unknown when ethanol prices will stabilize. With spring beginning tomorrow, Northeast temperatures should begin to rise. However, temperatures in this region currently remain below average for this time of year.