Local News

Motorists head to Virginia for gas

Posted October 7, 2008 4:48 p.m. EDT
Updated October 7, 2008 6:40 p.m. EDT

— With a statewide average of $3.79 a gallon, North Carolina currently has the highest gas prices of the mainland states. The prices have some North Carolinians near the Virginia border heading north to get prices up to 15 cents cheaper per gallon.

Anita Boyd is a cashier at a BP gas station along Interstate 85 in North Carolina located five miles from Virginia. The BP station charges $3.69 a gallon, but Boyd said many customers just spend a few dollars at the station.

“About maybe $6 or $7…enough to get them over to the Virginia line to get gas,” Boyd said.

Ron Fuller lives in North Carolina but filled up his gas tank in Virginia.

“Generally, Virginia’s gas is a little cheaper than North Carolina. So we waited until we crossed the border,” Fuller said.

In South Hill, Va., gas is anywhere from 10 to 15 cents cheaper.

Christine Brown is a clerk at a South Hill Exxon station that charges $3.59 a gallon. She said a lot of the customers in the area top off their tanks before crossing into North Carolina.

“They just want to be sure they can get through Carolina. And once they get into South Carolina, they don’t have the same problems,” Brown said.

AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Carol Gifford said the gas supply problem has a lot to do with the difference in price between the two states. North Carolina has been plagued by a gas shortage for nearly a month following damage to Gulf Coast oil facilities from hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The shortage caused some Triangle stations to sporadically run out of gas, either completely or of one or two fuel grades, over the past few weeks. Western areas were harder hit; only one in seven gas stations was open in Charlotte at one point.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Easley’s office said that no counties or cities were completely out of gasoline as supplies picked up.

The amount of gas running along the pipeline from the Gulf to North Carolina has been crimped since the hurricanes hit in mid September, and proximity to distribution points has played a large role in determining gas prices for certain areas.

“Even though gasoline is now flowing through the pipelines at more regular levels, it will take time to build up gas inventories at both the terminals and the tanks at individual gas stations. Until that happens, there are still likely to be sporadic gas outages,” Gifford said.