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AAA Carolinas: Don't panic over gas prices

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From AAA Carolinas: CHARLOTTE – AAA Carolinas is urging motorists to show restraint until the results of Hurricane Ike’s impact on the Texas refineries is assessed this weekend. “The fear of what might happen if these refineries are severely damaged has caused widespread panic resulting in some stations running out of product, some stations raising prices dramatically in anticipation of high fuel replacement costs, and some stations trying to restrict the number of gallons being purchased,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “The run on gas stations in both Carolinas is creating a crisis before one actually exists,” said Parsons. “We are making a possibly bad situation reality when motorists top off their tanks.” North Carolina continues under a state of emergency called for Hurricane Hanna. That means stations should not charge more for gasoline than what the gasoline in the ground cost the station plus the margin of profit that existed 60 days before the state of emergency was declared. South Carolina is also in a state of emergency. If any contiguous state is in a state of emergency, South Carolina’s Attorney General can impose one in his state, and he has done so. “Until we know what the damage from Ike is, people should remain calm,” urged Parsons. If damage is minimal, then prices should come down fairly quickly, Parsons said. If damage is severe, there are various options that can ensure adequate supply, such as getting product from the nation’s Strategic Oil Reserve and asking nearby oil producers to increase output. “We are urging motorists to eliminate unnecessary trips this weekend, use the family car that gets the best gasoline mileage and wait to see what damage Ike actually inflicts,” said Parsons. While supply will be adversely affected by refinery shutdowns due to Ike’s approach, the duration and effect of Ike cannot be determined until after the storm has passed. An affiliate of the American Automobile Association, AAA Carolinas is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 1.7 million members with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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