Department Reports on Fuel Supply and Offers Advice on Gasoline Use Following Tropical Storm Irene
HARTFORD, August 30 – Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein reported today that in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, the Department is monitoring the fuel market closely and there is no fuel shortage – there appears to be sufficient fuel in storage tanks or en route by barge. However, there is a supply disruption in moving the fuel out of the terminals to retailers and then to consumers. Power outages and water damage have reduced the number of fuel terminals and gas stations that are currently fully operational. As power is restored across the state, any supply bottlenecks will similarly dissipate.
While the situation should improve dramatically over the next few days, consumers are asked to implement conservation measures to prevent adding stress on the outlets currently in operation.
“With the gasoline supply emergency now extended in Connecticut until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6th, I want to advise residents that a few precautionary measures will ensure that our fuel supplies remain sufficient for normal use,” Rubenstein said. “By limiting driving when possible and not topping off or filling up more than usual, we can keep our fuel distribution outlets running smoothly. I’m asking everyone to pay attention to their driving habits, and conserve where they reasonably can.”
The Department is sharing some suggestions provided by fueleconomy.gov, the official U.S. government source for fuel economy information.
Tame your driving habits. Speeding, frequent lane changes, and rapid acceleration and braking all waste gas, lowering your gas mileage up to 33 percent at highway speeds.
Dial it down. While every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually decreases above 60 miles per hour (mph). Think of it like this: each 5 mph increase over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.29 per gallon of gas.
Lose the baggage. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially weighty ones. To conserve fuel, leave kitty litter, heavy tools, and multiple cases of soda at home if possible. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your fuel economy by 2 percent. This weight factor affects smaller vehicles most significantly.
Be cool naturally. With much of summer’s worst heat behind us, it’s fine to let the air conditioner have a rest and crack the windows a bit to allow fresh air to ventilate your vehicle.
Avoid idling. Leaving your engine running can use ¼ to a ½ gallon of fuel per hour, depending on your engine size and air conditioner use. Picking up the kids from practice? Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked.
Buy a tire gauge and check your car’s tire pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency by 2 percent for each pound that the tires are under-inflated. The best time to check your tire pressure is when the tires are cool – before driving, if possible.
“Inflating your tires to the pressure indicated in your owner’s manual is another simple way to save on gas consumption, and costs you nothing,” Rubenstein said. “Connecticut law requires gasoline retailers to provide air for tire inflation at no cost.”
Commissioner Rubenstein indicated that the Department of Consumer Protection continues to receive consumer emails and phone calls regarding alleged instances of profiteering. Report suspected instances of over-charging to: email@example.com or to 1-800-842-2649.