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Finding fuel
QuikTrip aiming to have gasoline at all locations today

LAWRENCEVILLE - One gas retailer hopes drivers can look no further than its 111 metro Atlanta stations to fill up today.

QuikTrip hopes to see 100 percent of those stations with gasoline.

"That's our objective, and we're trying," said Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs for QuikTrip.

Grayson resident Stephanie Smith got lucky finding gas Tuesday afternoon at the QuikTrip on Ga. Highway 20 beside McDonald's.

"I pulled in, waited about 10 minutes and here I am," she said standing beside a pump.

Smith, who works at Apex Medical in Lawrenceville, said she had driven past the stations on Ga. 20 on Friday looking for gas during her lunch break.

"Not one single station had gas," she said, "but thank God I have gas now."

Two employees wearing bright orange vests were out directing traffic, bringing vehicles in one entrance and sending them out the other after a stop at the pumps.

Thornbrugh said drivers can look for QuikTrip employees to help manage the flow of traffic at all locations.

"We have a plan in place for (employees) to help the customer," he said. "Most people, they understand (the gas situation). They don't like the situation, but they appreciate the employees out there directing and trying to help things run as smooth as possible."

Tampa, Fla., resident Michael Combs was visiting Atlanta on Tuesday and stopped in at the same QuikTrip on Ga. 20.

"I just figured I would stop since we saw there was an opportunity to get some gas," he said.

Combs last filled up in Tennessee, where he said gas supplies were also limited.

In an effort to ease the gas shortage in the Southeast, the field administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared a regional emergency Friday that exempts drivers transporting gasoline and other petroleum products from driving time restrictions.

"Notwithstanding the temporary lifting of these exemptions," said Duane DeBruyne, spokesman for the FMCSA, "drivers are still expected to use sound judgment and not operate their vehicle when they are overly fatigued so they don't present a hazard to other drivers on the road."

DeBruyne said drivers or individuals who have questions about the emergency declaration and exemptions can visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov for more information.

"They have been working around the clock and just doing a terrific job," Thornbrugh, with QuikTrip, said of gasoline tanker drivers. "They're supermen as far as we're concerned."

But despite efforts to ease the shortage, Thornbrugh said drivers can expect to see stations out of gas.

"I think the supply situation is getting better, but we're going through it so quickly," Thornbrugh said. "People need to understand we are going to experience outages at locations, it's just going to happen.

"This, too, will pass," he said. "It's just no fun for anybody right now."