State News

AAA: Gasoline relief on the way

Posted September 26, 2008 12:56 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2008 6:51 p.m. EDT

— There should soon be a "replenishing" level of gasoline in some areas of the state hit hard by gas shortages, AAA Carolinas said Friday.

"Big" shipments are expected over the weekend in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro and Greenville, as well as other cities, David Parsons, AAA Carolinas president, said in a statement.

More refineries that had closed after Hurricane Ike disrupted oil production two weeks ago are online now, Parson said, and more gasoline is flowing through the pipelines.

But it will still take a week for or more for the Southeast to receive larger shipments of gasoline through the pipeline, and sporadic gasoline outages and shortages might continue from time to time.

The Triangle, AAA Carolinas says, is much better off than other parts of the state, but motorists traveling over the weekend do need to think about how they are consuming fuel.

Anita Flippin, a local AAA branch manager, recommends thinking about filling up when gas gages reach a quarter tank, and she suggests looking for gas on the interstate.

"When you get to the interstate, it is fairly easy to find gas if you get off at exits that have a large cluster of gas stations someone is going to have it. The larger chains have a lot more gas than the smaller locations."

She also recommends to drivers with no travel plans to wait a few days o refill their tanks if they have at least a quarter tank.

Gas prices continue to fall, with the cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline averaging $3.90 in North Carolina and $3.81 in South Carolina, both state averages down a penny from Thursday, continuing a weeklong drop in prices.

“Motorists should be patient and exercise control and restraint in gas lines,” Parsons said. “Avoid panic pumping, or filling up and topping off your tanks when it’s not necessary, because that will continue the run on already very limited gas supplies.”

Four of the 17 Houston-area refineries remain closed, with most others in either partial or full operation and a handful expected to ramp up to full capacity through the weekend, he said.

The other 16 Gulf Coast refineries were operating at either partial or full capacity Friday, Parsons said.