Gas problems affecting some ride-hailing services

Austinites who rely on gasoline for their livelihood are experiencing problems at the pump.

Ride-hailing drivers said they've gotten creative to help conserve gas so they don't waste time in long lines at busy stations around the city.
“I did freak out in the beginning. I was like, ‘Oh, I need to get some gas right away,” said Jose Gonzalez who drives for local company Ride Austin.

For Gonzalez, not being able to fill up at the pump could cost him more than his peace of mind.

“This is our livelihood. We need to have our tanks full every single day,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said Thursday and Friday he has heard several passengers say they’d “rather pay the fare and have you guys take me home.”

A spokesperson for Ride Austin said Jose is one of many drivers who have used any means necessary to find a working pump.

“Of course, like everyone, they have to fill up at a regular gas station and so they'll search for that and they've been using online to kind of see where the gas is,” said Bobbi Kommineni with Ride Austin. 

The City of Austin said they are not affected by panic driven gas issues. Police, fire, EMS and other city vehicles are fueled with the city's own supply which is bought in bulk and in advance.

Capital Metro said they also contract with a fuel company so they don't have to wait in line at stations around town. They have 33,000 gallons of gasoline and 260,000 gallons of diesel on standby.

Austin ISD purchases diesel from a local vendor. Friday, they released this statement: "AISD has been filling up buses, vehicles and ordering fuel to keep the tanks full."

Still, all of those service providers said they are monitoring the gas situation just to be safe.
As for drivers like Jose, who have no choice but to wait in long lines for fuel, planning ahead makes all the difference.

“I am trying to do it a little bit sooner. Like this morning, I was looking for gas and I didn't even spend half a quarter of a tank, but then again this is my livelihood,” Gonzalez.