PHOENIX – A severe shortage of gasoline in Arizona in mid-
August did not stop one innovative operator from finding a
way to keep his vehicles rolling.
Jason Kaplan, president of The Driver Provider, said he
sent drivers and their cars to wait in gas lines. “We pay
people to do that specifically.”
Describing the situation as “pretty nuts,” he said there
were often 45 or more vehicles waiting to fuel up with
$2.25-a-gallon gas in his area of Phoenix.
“And when the stations are closed, people will start lining
up, waiting for the tanker to pull in,” he added.
Luckily for the 91-car operator, his company is across the
street from a gas station so he sees when the tankers pull
in. “We just send a bunch of people over there to fuel up,”
The gas crisis that affected most parts of Arizona was
caused by a July 30 rupture in the pipeline that runs from
Tucson to Phoenix and provides a third of Phoenix’s gas.
Everything was expected to be back to normal in a few days,
according to Kaplan and local reports.
In the meantime, operators like him were forced to deal
with the lines – and fuel prices that rose up $3 to $4 per
gallon in some areas.
On a positive note, Kaplan said, “In Arizona, summer time
is a very slow time for transportation. If it had to
happen, we are fortunate it happened during one of our
slowest months of the year.
“And, quite honestly, I think the scares of 9/11 makes
tragedies like this less dramatic,” he added. “That was
such a chocking experience that anything that isn’t to that
degree is easy to deal with.”
Another Phoenix operator, Steve Cunningham, president of
Carey Phoenix, said his operation wasn’t that affected by
He has used a fuel facility that’s not open to the public
for several years and has not had to rely on regular gas
“You have to have an account there and a fuel card,” he
said. In addition, most of his cars use diesel fuel.
The biggest problem was that his employees couldn’t find
gas for their personal cars. “So we actually allowed our
employees to use our card to get gas in their regular cars
just so they could get to and from work,” he said.
Cunningham, who also owns the Las Vegas limousine company
Fox Limousines, noted that the consequences of the Arizona
gas crisis were felt outside the state as well.
“They are trying to truck it in from everywhere else so the
price in Las Vegas spiked significantly even though there
was no shortage there,” he said.
- Rebecca Christiansen