Ensuring adequate fuel supplies is a key component in responding to energy emergencies. Fuel powers backup generators and allows emergency responders and utility workers to drive to where they are needed.
- Monitor petroleum supplies—Seek out accurate and timely information about petroleum supply, wholesale and retail prices, inventories, and production rates for State and regional refineries. Get in touch with your contacts within the petroleum industry, and seek out information from industry associations like the Automobile Association of America and GasBuddy.com. Stay tuned also to local media reports, and for information from State and Federal government sources. Learn more
- Coordinate with the private sector—Work with the petroleum industry to address supply problems. Fuel suppliers compete for customers and will do everything they can to restore supplies as quickly as possible. If they expect a severe storm, they often take action to build up supplies ahead of time.
- Identify the need for assistance—Determine whether critical service providers have enough fuel to ensure that essential public services are maintained. If not, contact your State government, which may be able to request or coordinate various types of assistance, including:
- Priority end-user programs—Temporarily require suppliers to provide fuel only to police, fire, and emergency medical services, or place other purchase restrictions on petroleum products, including minimum purchase requirements, odd/even license plate purchase authorizations, staggered days of operation, and others.
- Waivers for driver hours-of-service restrictions—Obtain waivers to permit truckers to drive more hours each day to deliver product to disaster areas.
- Waivers for fuel or fuel additive requirements—Fuel waivers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may grant the use of gasoline that does not meet local air quality requirements. Waivers may also allow out-of-state companies to sell petroleum inside affected States.
- State of Emergency declarations—If petroleum supply shortages deteriorate to a level that threatens public health, safety, and welfare, States can declare a “State of Emergency” that allows the implementation of mandatory measures.
- State and local transportation assistance—Coordinate with the State Emergency Operations Center, State highway administration, State Department of Transportation, and police to open transportation routes that will allow officials and suppliers to move petroleum products to disaster areas more quickly.
- Assistance with deliveries along evacuation routes—Large-scale evacuations can require efforts to ensure that gas stations along evacuation routes have sufficient gasoline and diesel fuel supplies to meet surges in demand. Contact your State Emergency Operations Center for assistance.
Disclaimer: Because every emergency is different, it is important for your safety that you follow the directives of your state and local emergency management authorities and local utilities. The information provided on DOE's website is intended for general informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any particular material or service. Before engaging in any activities that could impact utility services such as electricity or natural gas, contact your local utility to ensure that the activities are done safely.
For additional emergency-planning resources, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, ready.gov. State and local emergency management authorities and local utilities may also provide helpful guidance.