The American Petroleum Institute (API) said today that the oil and natural gas industry is ready to assist the U.S. government in this time of national crisis. The group said it has been in communication with the government to assure them that it is ready to assist in any way it can.
"Our greatest contribution can be to ensure that supplies of fuel to American consumers continue uninterrupted,” the Institute said in a press release. “Americans should be assured that every one of our companies is working hard to do just that.”
The group says it is confident that fuels are flowing normally to wholesale and retail markets throughout the United States. Gasoline and diesel fuel inventories are adequate to meet demand and refinery production remains strong, it said.
"We are aware of reports of lines forming at gas pumps in some sections of the country and of isolated panic-related incidents caused by fears that a disruption in the gasoline supply system could lead to higher prices or shortages,” API said. “There are allegations that some gasoline stations are taking advantage of the situation to increase their prices.”
For example, one gas station in Oklahoma City began charging $5 per gallon for self-serve regular.
"We were in a panic. Rumors were flying all over the TV and our suppliers called and said they were unsure when they could get us gasoline and that it would cost us $4 to $5 a gallon," station owner Ralph Pfenninger told Reuters today, after bringing his self-serve regular price back to $1.649 per gallon. Today he is refunding the difference to his customers.
The American Automobile Association said the statewide average for self-serve regular in Oklahoma yesterday was $1.548 a gallon.