Drivers flocking to gas stations in Southwest Florida

Posted at 8:23 PM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 20:23:13-04

Lines of cars could be found at gas stations across Southwest Florida Tuesday, as drivers stocked up on fuel for their generators - or to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma. 

Christian Derby of Naples said he and his family intend to stay put, to stay close to his mother-in-law in a local care facility. He filled 3 gas cans at a Shell station on Airport-Pulling Road to keep his generator running if he loses power from the storm.

"We'll weather it out, but we're actually in a pretty good spot, pretty high up," Derby said. "I'm not too worried about flooding, just a matter of power and water."

Chris Horn of North Fort Myers said he and his family will evacuate.

"I don't have a choice," Horn said. "I've got 200 feet between me and the Caloosahatchee River, so any storm surge, and I'm under water."

But he was filling gas tanks for his generator, in case even his evacuation site is affected by the storm.

"No matter where we go to stay, we're probably going to be without power, as big as this storm is," Horn said.

While some drivers reported to Fox 4 that several stations in Charlotte County ran out of gas, fuel trucks were still making deliveries throughout Southwest Florida, the day after Governor RIck Scott issued a state of emergency in advance of the storm.

"By declaring a state of emergency, it allows (fuel suppliers) to bring in resources faster and easier," Scott said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

He also reminds those concerned about price-gouging that the practice is illegal, and that any offenders should be prosecuted.

Gas prices averaged about $2.70 in Collier County Tuesday, which is about 30 cents more than last week. 

Marie Michel of Naples said that since drivers will likely have to wait at a gas pump before filling up for the next several days, it's best to keep calm.

"We cannot change it, so we have to be patient and accept it," she said.