WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Drivers across eastern North Carolina have been searching for gas after many stations ran out following a pipeline leak in Alabama.
Gas station customer Earline Peterson said she drove from Grifton looking for a station with gasoline until finally finding gas at the Walmart gas station off Memorial Drive in Winterville.
“This is the first one I’ve seen, and I came from Grifton,” Peterson said. “I’ve been out here a good 30 to 40 minutes trying to find some.”
The gas station had a full shipment of gas come Monday morning, but a store manager said most of it was already gone by the afternoon. Full shipments usually last three days.
Steve Hickman, another customer at the Walmart gas station, said he wanted to take advantage of the full pumps.
“This (tank) is five gallons,” Hickman said. “And we’ll fill this one up, and then we’ll fill the car up, and then we’ll go back and fill the other Jeep up, and then the rest of the cars are already filled.”
The gas at the station was being sold $2.16 per gallon for regular, which is the average for North Carolina according to AAA Carolinas. Last week, the average price per gallon was $2.05.
Experts said North Carolina could still see a 20 to 40 cent increase per gallon and longer than usual lines at the pumps.
“It’s best to be prepared than unprepared,” Hickman said. “You never know when you’re going to have to go out there. You never know what the weather is going to be.”
A price gouging law is in effect in North Carolina due to the limited supply of gasoline, and the Consumer Protection Division of the state attorney general’s office has said to report any gas price well above the average.
Engineers are working to bypass the leak on the Colonial Pipeline in central Alabama. The pipeline stretches from Texas all the way through North Carolina and up the East Coast.