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Understanding the fuel supply issues impacting airlines

Posted at 7:11 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 12:34:08-04

FORT MYERS, Fla  — Issues with fuel supply have been trickling down to cancelations and delays for travelers at the airport.

It’s something passengers at Southwest Florida International Airport have been experiencing.

"The pilot comes on the line and says 'this is the first time in 30 years I've been told there's not fuel,'" explained Joe Boles.

We spoke with an economist at Florida Gulf Coast University to better understand what's going on.

"The real issue is that on any given day, the country has fixed refining capacity. Now that refining capacity is vast. In fact, if you look at the single biggest refinery in the United States, I think every single day they refine something like 630,000 barrels of oil which is a lot. The problem is on a given day pre-pandemic, about 49% of that refining was for gasoline for our cars and only about 9% of that refining in the same day was allocated to making jet fuel. So the problem from the production supply side standpoint right now is that we don't have more refineries,” explained Victor Claar.

Refining more jet fuel would mean refining less automobile fuel. The trade-off would be a rise in gas prices at the pump.

Claar explained there's also no incentive to build new refineries. This is a temporary issue and things should eventually get back to normal. So they would only end up being for short-term use.

We're going in-depth throughout the morning on all of the things factoring into this on Fox 4 Morning News.