Gas shortages reported ahead of Category Four Hurricane Florence

With a potentially deadly Category Four hurricane bearing down on the East Coast, fuel shortages have already been reported, prompting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to declare a regional emergency.

With Hurricane Florence slated to make landfall on Thursday night or Friday morning, more than 1 million residents of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have been ordered to evacuate, according to CNN. Tropical storm force winds could arrive as early as Wednesday, however, with lingering rain and flooding from Hurricane Florence lasting into next week. Experts are also predicting 10 – 20 feet of storm surge.

North Carolina news station WITN is reporting that local gas stations are already running out of gasoline ahead of the hurricane. In Morehead City, North Carolina, all gas stations except for Walmart are out of gasoline. In Swansboro, fuel supplies also are reportedly low. Long lines and short fuel supplies have been reported at gas stations in Wilmington, too.

With the potentially deadly hurricane threatening to cut off power and supplies to millions of people, the FMCSA has declared a regional emergency for the following states:

  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

From the FMCSA’s emergency declaration issued September 10:

By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States and jurisdictions in direct support of relief efforts related to Hurricane Florence are granted emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.

This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, equipment, fuel and persons into and from the Affected States and jurisdictions or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during the emergency in the Affected States and jurisdictions from Hurricane Florence. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. Upon termination of direct assistance to the emergency relief effort, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CPR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. However, if the driver informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest, the driver must be permitted at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal reporting location. Once the driver has returned to the terminal or other location, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibilities and must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.

Nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CPR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CPR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements ( 49 CPR Part 3 87), the hazardous material regulations ( 49 CPR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CPR§ 390.23.

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA.

In accordance with 49 CPR§ 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for the duration of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11 :59 P.M. (ET), October 10, 2018, whichever is less.

You can click here to view the Emergency Declaration.