Repairs at El Paso fuel terminal create gas shortage around city

EL PASO, Texas — Repairs at an El Paso fuel terminal this past week created a gas shortage across the city, and as a result of upset frustration for many El Paso drivers looking to fill their car up.

Since Thursday night, ABC-7 had been receiving calls and emails from frustrated drivers who said many gas stations had no fuel, or only sold premium gas or diesel. The calls indicated this problem was happening around the Borderland, including Horizon City, far east, east, northeast, west, and central El Paso. Las Cruces gas stations were also experiencing similar problems.

ABC-7 spoke to employees at dry gas stations who say they never received a shipment of fuel from the Marathon Petroleum refinery in El Paso.

Our newsroom reached out to Marathon Petroleum to find answers.

A spokesman from the company said there were necessary repairs that had to be completed at the fuel terminal located right next to the refinery. A fuel terminal is an industrial site that stores oil and petroleum products, and where fuel tankers are loaded with the product to be sent to gas stations.

The spokesman elaborated saying the repairs were being made to the instrumentation at the fuel terminal. The repairs suspended fuel loading at the terminal on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

The spokesman said Sunday morning the repairs are complete and loading of fuel tankers has resumed.

The gas shortage stemming from the fuel terminal suspended frustration for many El Paso drivers who could not find a gas station to fill-up their cars.

One man ABC-7 spoke to, Mike Ahumada, said he had driven over three miles and multiple stations with no luck.

“I drove over to this big gas station right off the interstate, and found out that there is no gas. I also went to several other gas stations, Sam’s club, like six other gas stations over here and they had no gas. Period,” Ahumada explained.

Another woman, Nancy Estrada, was driving around a U-Haul truck trying to find gas before she turned the vehicle back in. She had to return the truck with a full tank or the company would charge her.

“This is the fourth gas station I have come to with no luck of getting gas. I have to fill up the tank in order to turn it in, and now I’m going to have to pay U-Haul in order for them to fill up the tank themselves,” Estrada said.

Tanker truck refueling Sam’s Club gas station Saturday night. Courtesy Mike Ahumada.

On Saturday night, ABC-7 received a picture from Ahumada showing a Sam’s Club gas station, that had been without fuel that day, with a tanker refueling the station, a sign that gas may be returning to dry stations.