There’s plenty of gas in pumps, but finding it can be tricky

September 12, 2018

Gas stations around the Triangle have been running dry as people try to fill their tanks before Hurricane Florence hits.

But officials said there’s no gas shortage and encouraged people to be patient and look around to find a working pump.

“There’s plentiful gasoline. The problem is we’re having people report that they’re having four times the volume go through a station that they have on a normal day,” said Gary Harris, executive director of North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers. “The infrastructure’s just not set for a spike like that.”

Linda Lux said she spent two hours Tuesday driving around north Raleigh looking for regular gas to fill up her SUV and three gas cans that will be used to power chainsaws later.

“We’re getting ready, getting everything ready,” Lux said.

Harris said stations are refilling as fast as they can, and patience will eventually pay off for consumers.

“These stations will go dry,” he said. “There is product at the terminal. As soon as they can get in line, get a tanker loaded and get it back to their station, they’ll have gas back at their stations.”

Unlike times when hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast, Florence shouldn’t affect refineries or pipelines bringing gas into North Carolina, Harris said. So there shouldn’t be any widespread or lasting supply problems.

His only worry is power outages, because pumping terminals along the pipeline need power to keep the gas moving, and the terminals where gas is stored have to have power to pump the gas into tankers.

For now, Lux said, the long lines for gas are a positive sign that people are taking Florence seriously and not waiting till the last minute to prepare.

“People are heeding it,” she said. “We’re out there getting it done and getting things done ready quicker.”

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