Local News

Pipeline begins moving gasoline again; supply issues will resolve in next few days

Posted September 22, 2016 3:58 p.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2016 10:21 p.m. EDT

— Although gasoline is once again flowing through a major pipeline that was shut down for a week due to a leak, it could be several more days before gas stations in North Carolina and the Southeast see things return to normal.

Colonial Pipeline reopened its massive pipeline late Wednesday, saying it still isn't sure what caused a leak discovered Sept. 9 in Alabama.

In the Triangle, things were slowly returning to normal on Thursday as gas stations have received replenishment shipments of regular unleaded gasoline in many communities.

For some drivers, the lack of other options is still leaving them in the lurch.

"I can't put 87 in my car. It only takes 93. That's the only thing I worry about," driver Trevon Howell said.

Things could stay that way for a few more days as supply issues across the state are resolved.

Steve Beyers, a store owner in Cary, said it's been a hectic week.

"Monday was a circus here," he said.

Beyers' store ran out of gas Tuesday morning. He got more on Wednesday night, but he couldn't sell it until Thursday morning when he knew the price.

"Basically, every time a gas tanker pulls up, every tank is a different cost," he said. "It fluctuates, and that's when you put your price on the gas."

Beyers says he's been around long enough to remember another gas crisis in the 1970s.

"Gas jumped from 22 cents a gallon to about 35 cents a gallon, and people would cuss at me as I'm cleaning the windshield," Beyers said, recalling the previous scare. "Unfortunately, I have as much control over the price now as I did then."

Howell said he hopes the supply issues are resolved quickly.

"They have to do something quick. We need gas to go to work, we need gas to go places we need to get," he said.

Ironically, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said Thursday that they've actually had fewer requests in recent days from drivers who are stranded on the side of the road without gas.

Colonial Pipeline estimates that 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the line. The shutdown of the pipeline led to dry pumps at gas stations in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas despite executive orders by governors across the South to suspend limits on trucking hours.