Gas Stations are Out of Gas in Florence’s Path
As Hurricane Florence strengthens, over 1.5-M ordered to flee
Tuesday, more than 1.5-M people were ordered to evacuate their homes along the US southeast coast to escape Hurricane Florence, a major Category 4 storm expected to make landfall in the Carolinas later this week.
Gas prices in South Carolina have climbed by about 8c to $2.585/gal from a week earlier, according to motorists’ advocacy group AAA. Early Tuesday, nearly 6% of Wilmington, North Carolina stations reported running out of supplies, said retail tracking service GasBuddy.
“I’m looking across the street at a gas station, and it’s a madhouse. People are honking at each other, cars are almost lined up out to the street,” said a resident of Wrightsville Beach in the state’s evacuation zone, said Tuesday.
“There are several gas stations out of gas.”
Officials in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina this week warned against price gouging by retailers, citing penalties for violating state of emergency rules against excessive price increases.
The southeast United States is largely supplied with fuel via Colonial Pipeline, which carries more than 3-M BPD of gasoline, diesel and other fuels to markets in the southern and eastern United States. Its operator was preparing for potential flooding and loss of power.
The pipeline was operating normally Tuesday and has reached out to customers to coordinate any changes in service that might arise from future terminal closures, a spokesman said in an e-Mail.
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority has ordered additional supplies of gasoline to fuel airport fleet vehicles, spokesman Andrew Sawyer said by phone.
Brokers and wholesalers in the Carolinas said they were starting to see stockpiles decline.
“As a resident of the South East and pretty much in the way of Florence, we are already running out of gasoline,” according to an energy broker at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.