Hurricane Harvey Looters Targeting Fuel Tanks As Google Searches For “How To Siphon Gas” Soar
Texas resident Joe Roan woke up to a rather unpleasant surprise yesterday morning as he discovered the remnants of a would-be thief attempting to steal gasoline from his Jeep Wrangler tank. Unfortunately, as a local CBS affiliate pointed out last night, with refinery outages resulting in growing gasoline shortages, this is becoming a rather common occurrence for Texas residents.
Joe Roan didn’t witness the crime, but he found the evidence in his driveway.
“I came outside this morning and found this water hose was sticking out,” he said, holding the hose a thief left hanging out of his Jeep’s tank.
On the ground sat a gas tank.
“Instantly I knew someone was trying to steal my gas,” he said. “Maybe a car drove by when they were doing it and they ran? I don’t know.”
Roan said the thief didn’t even manage to get any fuel.
Meanwhile, Google searches for “how to siphon gas” have soared as criminals have been forced to hone their skills before taking to the streets.
Of course, the rampant onset of gasoline thieves is the result of fuel shortages which are often exacerbated by the pure panic of people trying to keep their tanks topped off. As we’ve reported several times in recent days, long lines at gas stations have become a common sight from the Texas shores up to Dallas.
Flooding from Harvey has caused a temporary gas shortage, creating long lines and price hikes at gas stations in Texas. pic.twitter.com/azLD5hZOZE
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) September 1, 2017
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) August 31, 2017
Meanwhile, one seasoned energy trader warned this is “only just beginning” as the hangover from Hurricane Harvey flows downstream to retail gas prices…
As Bloomberg notes, Harvey impact currently includes:
- Colonial says it’ll commingle Rbob and conventional gasoline
- Explorer Pipeline planning to start lines Saturday, Sunday
- Logjam grows to 29 oil tankers as 11 ports remain closed
- Total Port Arthur is said facing extended shutdown on power loss
- Texas storm bucks N.Y. traders with wild gasoline expiry swings
- NHC issues final advisory on Harvey; losing tropical character
Which has left retail gas prices at the pump at their highest in 2 years…
And, judging by their usual lagged response to RBOB, they are set to go dramatically higher in the next few weeks…
All of which has resulted in the predictable onslaught of price gouging, with the Dallas News reporting sightings of gas prices ranging from $2.99 a gallon to $8….
There were multiple reports of gas stations charging anywhere from $2.99 to $8 for a gallon of regular gas.
At the 76 gas station in Garland, the fuel-price display unit outside showed $8 for a gallon. The station was swamped with calls from angry customers after a photo was posted on social media, according to Robert Fernandez, who works there.
There have been numerous complaints about high gas prices, according to Kayleigh Lovvorn, spokeswoman for the office of Texas Attorney General.
“When evaluating whether a business is engaging in price gouging in the sale of fuel, we look to see if they are charging excessive or exorbitant prices,” Lovvorn said in an emailed statement. “We recognize that certain market conditions, such as decreased production and closed refineries, might cause market fluctuations.”
The attorney general’s office is looking into 984 complaints filed between August 25 and Thursday afternoon. On Thursday alone, its Consumer Protection Division received more than 500 complaints, “many of which involve allegations of high fuel prices in Dallas, including amounts ranging from $6 to $8 dollars per gallon.”
…which is still pretty cheap compared to what Best Buy is charging for water.