Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday the state has arranged for military ships and state police to escort ships and truck carrying fuel into Florida as a way to speed up the process.
"We are aggressively working around the clock to bring more fuel to Florida gas stations. I have held calls with the federal government, fuel retailers and oil companies to find ways to address this issue," Scott said in a statement issued Thursday. "We have asked fuel companies to identify ships that are in route to our ports so we can arrange military escorts to get them here faster. To further expedite fuel delivery, I have directed state police to escort fuel trucks to gas stations along evacuation routes."
Emergency fuel contractors have 1.5 million gallons of fuel secured for delivery and are ready to allocate additional gas if Florida asks for it. The state is in the path of Hurricane Irma, a major storm.
All state ports are operational and accepting fuel shipments. Scott reported a fuel ship from a refinery in Mississippi is currently in route to the Port of Tampa for a resupply and will be escorted by a military ship. The shipment is in addition to the more than 300,000 barrels of fuel currently being unloaded in Tampa.
Scott suspended all weight and driver restrictions for highways in order to get fuel, water, food, and emergency supplies into the state quickly.
"I have also waived restrictions and regulations to expedite the ability of fuel trucks to deliver to stations. Also, at my request, the same restrictions have been waived in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama," Scott said.
Since the Florida Keys are under mandatory evacuation, police evacuation escorts will be provided to gas station employees so the businesses can remain open as long as possible.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it will allow more fuel into Florida and 35 other states.