Pipeline explosion likely to eventually impact eastern N.C.

FILE - In this May 8, 2015 file photo, gas station attendant Carlos Macar pumps gas in Andover, Mass.  Gasoline is close to breaking below a key psychological barrier as drivers enjoy some of the cheapest pump prices since the recession. The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 was $2.02, down 58 cents from this time last year, according to auto club AAA. Experts say it could drop below $2 in the coming days. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
FILE - In this May 8, 2015 file photo, gas station attendant Carlos Macar pumps gas in Andover, Mass. Gasoline is close to breaking below a key psychological barrier as drivers enjoy some of the cheapest pump prices since the recession. The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 was $2.02, down 58 cents from this time last year, according to auto club AAA. Experts say it could drop below $2 in the coming days. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Another gas shortage may be on the way for eastern North Carolina after a deadly gas pipeline explosion in Alabama.

Experts said, for now, there’s no need to rush to the pump, but that could change.

For Khadijah King, filling up gas is a weekly occurrence.

When she heard there may be another gas shortage she said “I’m shocked. I’m truly shocked.”

After all, it was just two months ago drivers across the east had to wait in gas lines and a search for a pump where they could fill up.

“Pumps were down; every gas station you rode to was down,” King said. “I had a neighbor come to my house and tell me to go ahead and run out to get gas because…all the gas stations were running out.”

That could happen again.

“Any hiccup or glitch at all is going to decrease the supply and raise the price,” said Randall Parker, an ECU professor of economics.

While the extent of the damage is not yet known, the closure of the Alabama pipeline will likely impact eastern North Carolina.

The gasoline used in the area comes from Texas and Louisiana and is transported thousands of miles.

“There’s no margin for error,” said Parker. “The gasoline that comes from the gulf region — if there’s any interruption in that highway, then it decreases the supply of gasoline here and makes it more scarce.”

Attorney General Roy Cooper said the price gouging law is still in effect, and he asks consumers to report any dramatic increases.

“If the gas is as high as it was as last time, I think that would be horrible,” King said.

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