We’re going on a full week since San Antonio drivers started panicking about fuel supplies, causing a shortage across the city. Thankfully, the worst is over, but we’re still a day or two away from being “back to normal.”
“This is pretty much a man-made phenomenon by rushing and panic-buying and stockpiling fuel,” Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said. “You know, we’ve even seen people buy fuel and then turn around and try to sell it on the side of the road, which of course is illegal.”
Sitton blames much of the panic that caused the gas shortage on false information spread through social media.
“This, I think, was caused by a lot of social media frenzy, and it kind of was a self-filling prophecy. As people heard about this and then they saw lines at gas stations, and they saw gas stations out, then they saw people stockpiling fuel, it just ... fed on itself and was just kind of bizarre,” Sitton said.
The good news is that we’re about 24 to 48 hours away from gas supplies being back to normal, Sitton said, but getting prices back to where they were could take another week or two.
Dr. Thomas Tunstall is the senior research director for UTSA’s Institute of Economic Development. He said gas prices shot up because getting more fuel to the Alamo City came at a cost that’s getting passed on to drivers.
“One of the reasons prices went up was the cost went up to deliver the gas. Crews were being paid overtime to make the deliveries,” Tunstall said.
Neither Sitton nor Tunstall could explain why it appears San Antonio panicked more than other Texas cities, but both agree that San Antonio drivers did react differently than everybody else.
“You started hearing about this first in the Rio Grande Valley, then the DFW area, and it hit San Antonio really hard about a day later," Tunstall said. "It seemed like everybody panicked. So once again, it’s very anecdotal, but yes, San Antonio seemed to get it a little worse than everybody else did for some reason."
“For whatever reason, yeah it looks like things may have been worse in San Antonio than other parts of the state," Tunstall said.