Special Convenience Matters Podcast: Hurricane Florence

NACS talks about the impact Hurricane Florence will have on the U.S. fueling infrastructure.

September 14, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In advance of Hurricane Florence making landfall in the Carolinas, Jeff Lenard and Paige Anderson of NACS recorded a special Convenience Matters podcast to talk about how the impact the storm will have on communities and the convenience and fuel retailing industry.

While there are no significant refineries in the path of Hurricane Florence, the storm will have a significant impact on both fuel supply and demand.

“Our industry is closely looking at a number of factors related to supply and demand for fuel and NACS is actively communicating how the industry is preparing for contingencies related to flooding, wind damage and potential power outages said Lenard, who was discussing fueling issues with Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel on Thursday.

With fuel flowing through the Colonial Pipeline, any power outages and/or flooding could impact fuel delivery upstream in areas that are not in the direct path of the storm. Should that occur, convenience stores could face supply challenges as a result.

“We recorded this special podcast to share timely information and resources with members, reporters and other and concerned about fueling issues related to the hurricane. This podcast, as well as social media podcasts, media interviews, constant communications with officials in affected states and future podcasts are part of the broader communications plan and resources we are developing to help inform consumers about the industry’s response to the hurricane,” said Lenard.

The NACS homepage also has a direct link to the Red Cross for donations on its website, part of a partnership NACS developed with the Red Cross in 2017.

Per the NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, there are roughly 9,800 convenience stores in North and South Carolina combined, of which about 8,300 sell fuel. Other states that will feel the effects of Hurricane Florence include: 

  • Georgia: 6,687 c-stores (5,831 sell gas)
  • Kentucky: 2,495 (2,207)
  • Maryland: 2,075 (1,357)
  • Tennessee: 4,312 (3,620)
  • Virginia: 4,504 (3,472)
  • Washington, D.C.: 231 (95)
  • West Virginia: 1,226 (1,046)
NACS has resources relating to disaster preparedness and recovery at the Fuels Resource Center, such as:
  • How Disasters Affect Fuel Prices: Higher prices at the pump often lead the public to assume a retailer is price-gouging. ​
  • How Refineries and Pipelines Resume Operations: In the wake of an emergency or natural disaster, resuming operations at a refinery and pushing product through the pipeline is complex.
  • What UST Owners Can Do After a Flood: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resources cite best practices for helping underground storage tank owners and operators safely bring UST systems back into service.
  • When Mother Nature Strikes: Convenience stores do much more than sell daily essentials and an estimated 80% of the fuels purchased in the United States—they also play a critical role before and after a natural disaster such as a hurricane strikes.

NACS has also partnered with the American Red Cross to advance community giving programs for NACS member companies, including donating to Red Cross disaster relief efforts.

Editor’s Note: The NACS Daily has been providing updated coverage of the latest emergency declarations and waivers. Yesterday, EPA updated its Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver for Georgia and Virginia by increasing the maximum RVP of fuels sold in Georgia to 11.5 pounds per square inch (psi). Georgia had asked EPA to increase the RVP level, which was initially set at 9.0 psi in the September 12 waiver. Virginia’s RVP level remains at 11.5 psi, where it was set in the original waiver