RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina Governor Cooper has declared a temporary state of emergency in North Carolina to help maintain gasoline supplies for North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Harvey shutting down gas pipelines.

The Colonial Pipeline, which carries huge amounts of gasoline and other refined fuels between the Houston region and East Coast states, was shut down this week after Hurricane Harvey forced the closure of refineries and some of the pipeline’s own facilities.

“Hurricane Harvey’s damage to refineries in Texas and Louisiana could ripple throughout the southeast, causing gasoline shortages and rising prices,” Gov. Cooper said. “I’m taking action to make it easier to get gasoline into our state so North Carolinians who need gas can get it.”

Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order No. 19 on Thursday, which temporarily waives the cap on maximum hours of service restrictions for fuel vehicles traveling in and through North Carolina.

Earlier this week, Gov. Cooper asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to waive certain federal regulations to keep gasoline supplies moving throughout North Carolina. The waivers were granted Wednesday.

The Governor’s Executive Order also helps support disaster response efforts by making it easier for vehicles transporting emergency relief supplies to travel through North Carolina.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those suffering from Harvey and its aftermath, and North Carolina is doing everything we can to help,” said Governor Cooper. "This executive order will help essential supplies get to flood victims as soon as possible, while also keeping fuel flowing here in North Carolina.”

Additionally, Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order No. 18, which declares an abnormal market disruption for gasoline in North Carolina based on the temporary shutdown of Texas and Louisiana fuel refineries due to Hurricane Harvey.

As a result, North Carolina’s price gouging law against overcharging in a time of crisis is now in effect statewide for the next 45 days.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein also released a statement, indicating his office will heavily pursue claims of price gouging in the state.

“If you see suspiciously high gas prices, it could mean that gas stations are taking advantage of their customers,” said Attorney General Stein. “I want to know about it. My top priority is protecting North Carolinians – including their wallets. Taking advantage of people during a weather crisis would be unacceptable, and I will hold any offenders accountable.”

Attorney General Stein and the North Carolina Department of Justice will be reviewing complaints from consumers closely over the next several weeks and are prepared to take action against any gas stations engaging in price gouging activities.

North Carolinians who spot potential gas price gouging may report it to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office at ncdoj.gov or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

For South Carolina, reported price gouging can be reported by calling the S.C. Attorney General's office at 1-800-351-4889.