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Gas shortage in Arkansas is really just increase in demand, experts say

Arkansas gas station owners like Sam Kassis, owner of Maumelle Food Mart, said they've had issues throughout the whole pandemic.

MAUMELLE, Ark. — Heard about a gas shortage sweeping the country right now? You're not alone.

Station owners like Sam Kassis, owner of Maumelle Food Mart, said they've had issues throughout the whole pandemic.

"Since COVID happened, we've had issues with the deliveries," Kassis said. "Now recently with this shortage thing, it's hard to keep gas on the tanks."

It's an issue Kassis says he knew was eventually going to happen.

"Or deliver on time, and I think this shortage on, uh, everywhere, I think it will hit us this weekend maybe."

But is it actually a shortage of gas, or something else?

"The strength of demand is pushing prices higher, at a time when typically, as drivers hit the road for the summer months, we tend to see higher prices anyway," Dr. Michael Pakko said.

Pakko is the Chief Economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at UALR.

He says if you plan on traveling this weekend, get ready to pay up.

"When it comes to gasoline, actually, the price is up, expected to be higher this holiday weekend than any other Fourth of July weekend going back to 2014," Pakko said.

Which the so-called shortage isn't actually a thing.

"No, there's really not a shortage," Pakko said. "It's just that demand is growing faster than supplies, stockpiles are being drawn down."

And that's the issue Kassis is seeing.

They've had a couple of points where they've ran out of some types of gas, but because of their delivery times.

Even so, having no gas at a gas station for any issues creates issues for him.

"It is difficult because some people, they will not understand it's a nationwide issue," Kassis said. "They think it's just our store issue, they think we don't have gas for, our mistake."

And headed into as busy of a weekend as the Fourth of July, Pakko says don't panic.

"No need to go stock up, fill your tank, or fill gas tanks, or cans like that," Pakko said. "Just be prepared to pay somewhat higher prices for the next few weeks."

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