Gas stations across North Carolina are seeing shortages following a pipeline leak. But Triple-A says the rupture is not necessarily the cause of that. It’s the crush of drivers filling up that is causing stations to run out of gas says Triple-A Carolinas spokeswoman Tiffany Wright. Her message is don’t panic – there’s enough gas to go around.
“Unfortunately when things like this happen everyone gets a little nervous. It creates a bit of a panic. And folks run out when they wouldn’t typically get gas", according to Wright. "Say they (usually) get gas on Friday, well they’re now nervous, so they’re running out the pumps to get gas (today). And that is what is actually creating the shortage.”
North Carolina is one of five states feeling the effect of the leak in the Colonial pipeline, which occurred in Alabama. Wright expects this to only be a temporary problem. She isn’t ready to give an exact timeframe for when things might get back to normal though. “We have a ton of supply in the United States, so we should be fine. It’s just going to be a reshuffling behind the scenes. We just want to remind people not to panic, and not to alter what they typically do at the gas station.”
Triple-A says gas prices have risen an average of 11-cents per gallon statewide to $2.16 following the pipeline leak. But Wright adds they’ve seen instances where prices have jumped as much as 20-cents per gallon overnight. In western North Carolina, prices are slightly above the statewide average. Wright says even with pipeline leak that’s typical, because of Asheville’s status as a year-round tourist destination, which drives the price of gas a little higher.