WOODWARD TOWNSHIP — Quite a few Sheetz gas stations in the area are on empty and out of fuel during the biggest travel week of the year.
Drivers had to fill-up elsewhere on Monday when they discovered signs on the pumps saying “Sorry. Out of regular and mid grade gasoline.” Sheetz expects some locations to have gas back by Tuesday but the company has made no guarantee.
The fuel pumps were still out of commission at Sheetz along Route 220 between Williamsport and Jersey Shore Monday. The problem here, much like the problem at the Maynard Street location in Williamsport, is a shortage of regular and mid-grade gas.
Sheetz stores in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties as well as Union and Lycoming counties had been without regular unleaded gas since the weekend. Still, drivers had to fuel up.
“They had signs all over the place and no gas when I got in there. It shocked me yes,” said Chet Lampman of Williamsport.
“It’s nice to be able to depend on it, but I guess not,” said James Carman of Avis.
Gasoline was delivered to nine Sheetz locations that were empty throughout the state, and others could take as long as a day to get filled up according to a spokesperson for the Altoona-based company.
“The stress on the petroleum supply chain has caused interruptions that Sheetz is working diligently to fix. We are confident that new supplies from our pipeline source will enable us to provide all stores that are experiencing shortages with deliveries,” said Sheetz spokeswoman Monica Jones.
The Harvest Moon Plaza and Restaurant along Route 220 does have gasoline. Its owner explained that Sheetz was having issues because name brands such as Sunoco, Texaco, Citgo and Exxon receive top priority from the suppliers.
“For the unbranded stations like Sheetz and Wawa, if they have 20 trucks that day, and only then it turns out only four trucks can get fuel during that time frame,” said Barry Heller, owner of Harvest Moon.
Heller said because he sells the Sunoco brand, gasoline suppliers designate so much fuel for delivery every month.
Still Heller is ordering gasoline for his customers two days in advance, instead of one day in advance, to make sure he does not run out.
As for Sheetz and the fast-approaching holiday travel days, Jones said the company does not believe the gasoline shortage will last into Thanksgiving Day.
“We have no guarantee, as its dependent upon supply from the pipeline, but we’ve had about 9 stores get a shipments so far today so it looks good for the rest of the stores that are currently out,” she said.