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Some pumps run dry while refineries try to recover from Ike

Posted September 23, 2008

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— Gasoline refineries damaged by Hurricane Ike 10 days ago haven't returned to full operation, which is causing some Triangle gas stations to run dry.

Nine refineries were still offline Tuesday, causing the two pipelines that supply gas to North Carolina and other states across the Southeast to operate at a lower capacity than normal, officials said.

"Every pump was out of gas," said Diane Ruddiman, who was thwarted in her effort to find gas Tuesday  afternoon at the BP station on Capital Boulevard at Westinghouse Boulevard. "It kind of scares me a little bit because I'm on empty and I need gas."

Independent stations that don't have supply contracts with major distributors are running short on gas because the distributors serve their contractual customers first and don't have much left over, said Bill Weatherspoon, executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council.

"When refineries are down because there is damage from flooding or they are down because of electricity supply, we know that there is going to be impacts on availability," Weatherspoon said. "The people who have gasoline right now are typically those wholesalers and retailers who have a contract."

Stations in Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and elsewhere that depend on the regional pipelines for gas also have been running dry. It was unclear Tuesday how many North Carolina stations were out of gas.

AAA Carolinas said western North Carolina and the Charlotte area were experiencing more gas shortages than the Triangle.

It's not a panic situation, however.

"I'm not too concerned," said Dee Sim, who gassed up at a Citgo station on Leesville Road at Norwood Road Tuesday morning. "My husband's car is filled, and I have two kids with cars. So, somebody is going to get me where I want to go."

The station has already run out of premium and mid-grade gas, but the owner said he had enough regular gas to last a couple of days – unless people flocked to the station because other nearby stations had already run dry.

Weatherspoon said the gas shortages should end within the next week as refineries ramp up operations again and fill the pipeline. In the meantime, he cautioned against panic buying, which would only aggravate a shortage.

"There is gasoline in every community. There is plenty of gasoline to go around, even in these circumstances," he said.

65 Comments

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  • tran Sep 24, 2008

    "Our Gov. is too lazy and greedy to do anything about it ..."

    To the contrary, the government has done something about it. Legislators wrote the price gouging law and the atty. general is enforcing it. This is why many stations are running out. What the price gouging law does is fix prices. The history of price controls has been shortages. Had prices been allowed to spike, people would have cut back their consumption and the pumps would have gas. The price controls encourage hoarding.

  • ThePunisher Sep 24, 2008

    My local BJ's was out of gas, had all pumps taped off. So I went to a Kangaroo and the pump I used was bone dry, other pumps at the same station were working.

    Gassed up my truck, and did the only responsible thing: got in my other car with some gas cans and topped them off too. Family first!

  • bs101fly Sep 23, 2008

    "If they made false claims, THAT would be irresponsible."

    They did! That's why they added the word "some" to the title of this irresponsible story!

  • food4thought Sep 23, 2008

    I went to the three gas stations that I usually go to and none of them had gas!

  • Marc3939 Sep 23, 2008

    "Putting this story at the top of the page is irresponsible journalism at its worst."

    It's news people. If they made false claims, THAT would be irresponsible. When something happens in the community, it's their responsibility to report on it.

    People upset at the media for writing about FACTS need to get a grip. People would still talk and find out about the shortage. The crybabies are acting like we all live in a shell and wouldn't find out about the shortage if it wasn't for WRAL.

  • delilahk2000 Sep 23, 2008

    I do not believe it either, they are doing it again just like in the 70"s to raise the prices higher when there was never a shortage. This is extortion plane and simple just to keep the prices higher. Our Gov. is too lazy and greedy to do anything about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gokousupasayan Sep 23, 2008

    One day we're so "dependant on foreigh oil" and another day we can't even provide enough oil for ourselves. Doesn't make sense. So are we dependant or are we not? Ironic and idiotic. These companies have us completely fooled. We're neither dependant nor independant, because "big oil" will be there to suck us dry whether we buy internationally or locally.

  • bs101fly Sep 23, 2008

    "but then I see 12 cars waiting on the McDonald's drive through line with engines running."

    Hey man,
    we gotta eat! Shortage, bail outs, hemorrhoids, WE NEED THE BIG FLIPPIN' MAC!!!

  • wildervb Sep 23, 2008

    I find it funny that everyone whines about gas prices and gas shortages, but then I see 12 cars waiting on the McDonald's drive through line with engines running.

    If we all just cut back for a week or so there won't be a shortage, we'll all save some money.

  • tommys5 Sep 23, 2008

    Humdinger ,its people like you that cause SHORTAGES when supplies are low. Why don't you empty the milk jug and mayo jar in the fridge and go fill them up also. Everyone for themself??????

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