Hurricane Irma has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, though it is still battering Florida and Georgia, sending residual effects to states up the coast and in the south and mid-west. In Florida, about 65 percent of gas stations are reported to be out of gas, though prices have begun falling as the hurricane begins to wane. In the oil market, prices have fluctuated as the storm hit over the weekend. MarketWatch reports that the market has started to recover, though demand remains low and some refineries on the Gulf Coast are still closed.
Responding to the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma, as well as the damage that remains from Hurricane Harvey, EPA-issued fuel waivers for states along the East Coast remain in effect, allowing higher-RVP blends to be sold in an effort to reduce fuel shortages as well as permitting conventional gasoline to be sold in reformulated gasoline areas. In addition, Federal and state governments continue to lift restrictions that hinder emergency response to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, including important waivers by EPA and FHWA on fuels and truck driver hours-of-service rules in states affected by the storms. Most recently, the Trump Administration waived the Jones Act, which requires shipping between U.S. Ports to be done by American built and crewed vessels. The IRS has waived a penalty for use of dyed diesel and USDA issued waivers for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Requirements in Texas. The list of states that have declared states of emergency now include South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.
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