Ruptured pipeline could mean higher gas prices, shortages in NC

Posted September 16, 2016
Updated September 17, 2016

— Gas prices could be going up due to an East Coast supply problem.

A section of the Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, was shut down last Friday after it spilled about 250,000 gallons in Alabama. The pipeline's operator has said full service won't be restored until at least next week.

The pipeline provides gasoline for an estimated 50 million people on the East Coast, and gas stations are already starting to see a fuel shortage. An Exxon station near the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, for example, placed an order for 10,000 gallons of gas, but its supplier delivered only 1,000 gallons.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed an executive order Thursday waiving restrictions on hours for fuel trucks traveling in and through North Carolina in an effort to prevent possible disruptions and backups at fuel distribution hubs.

The lack of supply, along with increased transportation costs to get fuel to area gas stations, could start driving up prices at the pump.

"It's already $2.09, and I just spent $30 to fill up my gas tank. That's' a lot," said Tiffany Long, a North Carolina State University freshman from Roxboro. "I do travel back home and to school, and it's kind of big deal if you don't have money to fill up your gas tank."

Petroleum experts say any spike would be temporary, but they're keeping an eye on prices.

Drivers like Wayne Ellers are used to price fluctuations, however.

"It's supply and demand, that's what it is," Ellers said. "It goes up fast, it goes down slow."


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  • Bryan Ayers Sep 19, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    The geographic layout of cities/towns/businesses in the Triangle area is not conducive to installing any type of rail service - light or otherwise.

  • Norman Lewis Sep 17, 2016
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    Summer driving season is over so demand for gas is probably dropping a bit. What a surprise gas prices may be going up "short term" during the break before Thanksgiving and Christmas travel seasons when prices usually go up quite a bit. What a coincidence...sure.

  • Judy Loftin Sep 17, 2016
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    Light rail? We have buses everywhere with no riders.

  • Jeff Parrish Sep 17, 2016
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    What does a shortage of a product have to do with higher costs to transport the product!?!? I hype and "public panic" syndrome are what will drive up prices in this case. At any rate, the Colonial spokesperson admitted that the problem should be solved by next gas prices will go back down.......*right*?

  • Stacie Hagwood Sep 17, 2016
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    Ok, McCrory, so now we'll have sleep-deprived truckers hauling tankers of gasoline. Recipe for disaster.

  • Dennis Midkiff Sep 17, 2016
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    This is to computer memory prices going up due to "an explosion at the memory plant" story

  • Ron Coleman Sep 17, 2016
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    The press and the media will raise the panic level and give justification for the rich oil companies to raise prices and make more money. Doing a great job as usual WRAL

  • Candace Williams Sep 17, 2016
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    Kenneth, although the demand isn't going up the supply is going down. A ruptured pipeline means less oil coming to us.

  • Tim Boomhower Sep 17, 2016
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    Park and ride only works for some people. Id never be able to use it. Also, Tiffany doesn't remember $4/gal for gas apparently.

  • Kenneth Jones Sep 17, 2016
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    This Tiffany Long hasn't experienced high gas prices. She don't have a clue what it's like to pay $4 for a gallon. Also, there is no reason for the price to change. The demand isn't going up, only the price? Just too much wrong with this story.....