Colonial Pipeline shutdown causes NC pump panic

A state of emergency declared to prevent gas shortage causes panic at the pump.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Colonial Pipeline is partially underwater in Houston due to heavy flooding from Harvey and that is sending gas prices soaring in the Carolinas.

The pipeline provides nearly 40 percent of the gas to the Southeast and runs directly through Charlotte. This means what is happenings more than 1,000 miles away in Texas, will have an impact at at the pump.

"It's just getting really pricey, I'm concerned," said Brian Garcia.

Garcia one of dozens waiting in long lines at Costco's gas station to fill up.

"Costco has cheap gas and my tank is empty and I'm not sure how much longer I will have to wait for prices to go back down," he said.

So he chose to wait for the best deal in town.  Drivers paid $2.25 a gallon there as prices jumped in North Carolina 7 cents overnight.

"Just a few weeks ago, I was paying $1.80," said Christine Kellogg.  Thursday she paid $2.59.  "I didn't expect it to be this high this fast," she said.

Since Harvey hit last week, North Carolina has seen gas prices jump 18 cents. In South Carolina, gas is up 23 cents.  

"The  good news is we have ample supply of gasoline, so we look in the supply department, but I can't tell you how high prices are going to get," said Tiffany Wright, Spokesperson for AAA.

"I'm worried this could take weeks, as much flooding as it is and how many oil refineries," said driver Donna Crestanza.

Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order Thursday to protect driver's from price gouging and sure up supply.  Wright says gasoline is being diverted from the Northeast to take care of supply, but the says it is increased demand could lead to pain at the pump. 

"Don't panic at the pump don't overconsume, don't top off if you don't need to because we have a ton of supply so I don't think supply is going to be an issue," she said.

A Colonial Pipeline spokesperson says gas if flowing from Louisiana intermittently. Crews will have to inspect the portions of the pipelines in Houston that are underwater to resume operations.

They anticipate having everything back online by Sunday.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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