State News

Gas shortages linger in Western N.C.

Posted October 7, 2008

— Some signs of the gas shortage haven't disappeared in North Carolina's mountains despite increased deliveries of fuel.

Most gas stations have fuel and operators say the situation is greatly improved, but some area pumps still sport plastic bags showing there isn't fuel in them, The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Tuesday.

Buncombe County emergency services director Jerry VeHaun said Monday that 70 to 80 percent of the county's stations had gas. Some stations remained closed, however.

"It's going to take another couple of weeks to get things back to normal, but we're doing better," VeHaun said. "The stations are getting a little inventory in the ground."

The shortages began after hurricanes shut down refineries along the Gulf coast and squeezed off supplies to a pipeline that serves central and western North Carolina.

"As of (Monday) morning, 16 of our 55 stations were out of gas," said Ron Freeman, chief financial officer at Ingles Markets, an area supermarket chain.

"Our buying has been steady, but still at reduced rates. What we're getting is selling quickly, but without long lines. We're starting to see more premium (grade fuel) as well."

Florida resident Iain Calder, who rents a home in Lake Toxaway each year, said the shortages baffled him.

"I don't understand why the government and local politicians haven't addressed this," Calder said.

Scott Shealy, vice president of Citizens Fuel Co., which operates 10 stations in the Asheville area and supplies another 15, said supplies still were tight at the South Carolina terminals from which fuel is brought to the mountains.

"I think we're still at a point where everything that is coming in is, by and large, going into vehicles as opposed to going into underground storage tanks," Shealy said.

Steve Baker, spokesman for Colonial Pipeline, the company that moves fuel north from the Gulf area, said the pipeline to the Carolinas was running at a higher than usual rate.

AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Carol Gifford said the Charlotte area and the mountains are still the hardest hit. It likely will take another week or more to return to normal.

"But people should expect that we're still resolving the issue, and we've not built up any kind of inventory in the ground," she said.


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  • Blueboxinggloves Oct 7, 2008

    jasonicholas23 - Did you miss your meds today or what? I was simply making a short statement that we have gas shortages AND high prices...that's it. Try to calm down!

  • keithcal Oct 7, 2008

    Not much gas here in Hillsborough either. A bunch of stations are empty.

  • Tolip Oct 7, 2008

    Folks, please calm down, it's the pipelines, it's the electricity to run the pumps for the pipelines, it's the pumps which are broken that needs the electricity to run the piplines!!! In other words "BOHICA"!!!

    Had enough yet Noth Calina?

  • Kilroy Oct 7, 2008

    "I'm with you guys - Wake County is still plenty short on gas.

    And HIGH on prices!!!!

  • Heel from Hell Oct 7, 2008

    Since hurricanes hit the Gulf, I've filled up about 3 times at the Handee Hugo's on Durant. Premium has always been available, and I've never waited (knocking on wood and counting blessings now).

    All depends on who the fuel supplier is for the station and where that supplier gets it's gas. Charlotte and WNC get a fair amount of their supply from wholesalers in SC. RDU is favorably between the big tanks in Greensboro and Wilmington. Chains will always get gas first with the remainder going to Mom/Pop's. Also remember that the retailer has to sell gas at the forward price (i.e. what they think it may take to cover their next order).

    Hold on tight...the heavy demand season is over, and we should see some return to "normal" soon. In this case EZ E is right (albeit a week behind).

  • lgilbert1 Oct 7, 2008

    Tried 6 stations this morning, none had premium (which my engine takes). Ended up having to ride with a coworker down to Sanford. Guess I'll try again tonight.

  • I guess I will just type this Oct 7, 2008

    "Gas shortages linger and so do higher gas prices."

    What the heck does that mean in relation to decreased prices and people unable to find gas? Shouldn't it go the other way if lack of gas (increased prices)? Take it easy on that last brain cell you're working with over there, looks like he's about to fade away like the rest of them...

  • Blueboxinggloves Oct 7, 2008

    Gas shortages linger and so do higher gas prices.

  • I guess I will just type this Oct 7, 2008

    if gas is based on supply and demand why isn't it more around here and across the country? i see on national news sites that gas average is less than 3.50/gal now and continues to drop... i guess i'm just not crooked enough to understand how this works

  • bs101fly Oct 7, 2008

    hey wral and Gov. Easy, there are MANY stations with bags over pumps in YOUR county alone.
    Shortage is all over here ain't it lying Guys!
    And LOVE the prices.
    Oil is down 40+% and gas for us is down 8%!
    Let the fleecing of Wake County and NC residents continue, it's just fine isn't it!