Local News

Fears of shortages fueling high gas prices

Posted October 10, 2008
Updated October 11, 2008

— Gas prices continued to drop, but North Carolina still had the highest gas prices in the lower 48 states, and the Triangle had the highest in the state Saturday.

North Carolina drivers were paying an average of $3.599 for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline Saturday morning – 30 cents above the national average, according to a daily monitoring service of AAA, Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

South Carolinians were paying 21 cents less a gallon than their nothern neighbors, while Virginians were paying 6 cents less than the national average.

Drivers in the Triangle were plunking down $3.698 for a gallon, while those in the Triad and Charlotte also paid above the state average.

Fayetteville motorists were charged around $3.556 a gallon, and Wilmington had the lowest average price at $3.349 a gallon.

North Carolina is still dealing with the fallout from recent tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico, said Bill Weatherspoon, executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council. As long as there are supply concerns, he said, motorists should not expect prices to drop quickly.

If retailers cut prices more quickly than their competitors, they will get swamped by customers and quickly run out of gas, Weatherspoon said. And the customers in those lines rarely spend money inside the store – the main source of stations' profit.

All those factors, Weatherspoon said, mean that retailers cannot afford to make drastic price cuts quickly.

Supplies, though, have been increasing in North Carolina as the oil pipeline from the Gulf Coast has been pumping at full capacity since Sept. 30. No counties or cities were completely out of gasoline as of Tuesday, Gov. Mike Easley said.

"These are very few and far between, now, and generally speaking, the market is pretty well supplied," Weatherspoon said. "We may not be quite back to normal, but we're very close."

However, motorists said the high prices are still frustrating.

"I'm just wondering what's going on and where it's all going," Raleigh motorist Kimberly Brown said. "I mean, they say the pipelines are up and running – why isn't everything coming through like it's supposed to?"

10 Comments

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  • **8** Oct 10, 9:49 p.m.

    What a crock of you know what. How can gas prices vary by as much as $.15 within a half a mile radius/ The walmart on 760 in clayton had it for 3.51 and less than 300 yards down it was 3.68. This is pure price gouging. Barnes' store on buffaloe rd. has it for $4.75. Any of you economists out there want to explain this?

  • rushbot Oct 10, 9:41 p.m.

    Lay off of these oil companies! They are only trying to save us from the gas shortages which might occur if gas was cheaper and they are encouraging people to drive slower and less. The higher profits are a just reward for this outstanding public service!

  • kopfjaeger2001 Oct 10, 9:00 p.m.

    Easley's on his way out the door. Now do you think he cares?

  • kimmimom Oct 10, 8:21 p.m.

    I have friends in MS, KS, and VA who are all paying under $3 a gallon. MS and VA are paying 2.99/gal, KS is paying $2.82 a gal. Yes, there is gouging or some kind of issue in NC! Our tax is NOT that much higher than VA! Still paying $3.59 in N Chatham Co, just south of Chapel Hill (a station half mile north of us is still 3.64). It is ridiculous!

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Oct 10, 8:11 p.m.

    It amazes me how bad people complain about gas prices at the cost they are. They will spend a hour or so in a long line to save a few pennies a gallon or drive many miles but for years no one has complained about a bar or night club restaurant charging $4.00 to $5.00 a bottle of beer or $7 to 9 for a glass of wine or liquior or even up to 10 for a frozen drink.

    Stay home... buy a case of beer for 13.00 on sale and drink all you can and save those bucks just driving around all night long.

    Plus, I do see all you people complaining but you are still driving 70 mph in 55 and 45 mph zones still tale-gating the people that have slowed down to save gas.. I love it when the "hot rods" speed and then get stuck at the next traffic light and there I am going the speedlimit and end up getting there too and maybe even passing you still saving gas..... GET OVER IT PEOPLE

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 10, 7:59 p.m.

    Seeing that Gas was $3.37 in Wilmington, NC, $3.34 in Mebane, NC, and $3.27 in South Carolina, the gas retailers in the triangle have some explaining to do.

    We're being price gouged in the triangle.

  • mep Oct 10, 7:58 p.m.

    We are getting gouged! Where is the AG now???
    Too bad NC does not have its own refinery instead of having to pipe it in from the south. Hummmm. Maybe we can start drilling AND refining right here in NC.... and boost our economy and add much needed jobs to boot.

  • janeybelle Oct 10, 7:55 p.m.

    Doesn't sound like it's the governor's fault but instead it's the fault of the greedy oil companies and businesses in North Carolina.

  • mike275132 Oct 10, 7:07 p.m.

    But Gov. Easley said he had personally filled the pipeline last week! Time to get Mary Easley on the job, she's "Uniquely Qualified" for it, just like her "job" at NC State.

  • sstarling50 Oct 10, 6:10 p.m.

    about time for a trip to va. and get some of that 2.95 gas.