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MOST GAS STATIONS WIRED FOR GENERATORS

Only 2 percent of those covered by a law aren't prepared.

Nearly all the gas stations that are required by a new law to be able to run on generators after a hurricane have complied with the law, state officials said Friday.

A spokesman for the state Agriculture Department, which inspects gas stations, said there are now only about 20 outlets that haven't met the requirement, which went into effect June 1. That means about 98 percent of the stations required to be generator-capable now are, said department spokesman Terry McElroy.

He said state agriculture officials were working with Attorney General Bill McCollum's office to determine what to do about those still not complying with the law, "whether to go to court and get a court order forcing them or referring them to a state attorney because it is, after all, a second-degree misdemeanor."

The law requires certain gas stations to be wired to use generators, but many won't actually be required to have a generator on site.

Those outlets within a half-mile of certain major evacuation routes must be wired with a transfer switch and capable of operating fuel pumps, dispensing equipment and credit card payment equipment on generator power.

Companies that own 10 or more retail gas stations in a single county must have one generator for every 10 stations. Certain other companies that own multiple gas stations in the same region are also required to be able to operate on generators.

Nearly 1,100 stations are covered by the law.

Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, said state and local officials have worked with the industry to help station owners comply. But, he said, he's not sure it will solve the fuel shortage problem Florida often sees after hurricanes because there still may not be gas to pump.

"Most inventories are going to be depleted during evacuation," Smith said.

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