Gas prices are up dramatically once again, and this time Hurricane Ike gets the blame. People in Wilmington went to the extreme today, topping off their tanks in fear of running out. Gasoline was a hot commodity Friday, as people got word of oil refineries shutting down in Texas and Louisiana in anticipation of Ike, leaving people in panic mode. "I think everyone is panicking, but here I think they are out of regular gas and the mid grade gas is crawling, the guy next to me was here twenty minutes and only pumped 5 gallons,” said Richard Shipe of Wilmington. "The lines were pretty long, it was four or five cars deep at one point, I was a little concerned because it looked like a few people might have been irritated,” said Ashley Cedzo of Fayetteville. A station on Market Street ran out of regular gas midway through the day. It didn't take long for the fuel truck to re-stock the supply, but in the meantime people had to pay the price for mid-grade or premium. Gas prices ranging from $3.58 to nearly $4 here in Wilmington. The Crown Station on North College upped its prices four times in twenty-four hours. "It was $3.59 last night, and he called again and raised it to $3.79, and about twenty minutes ago he called and raised it to $3.99,” said Crown Gas clerk, Mark Coker. Some stations put a limit on how much people could put in their tanks. Kangaroo Stations across town recommended customers put no more than ten gallons in at one time, for fear of running out. Benjamin Frimbong, from Kib’s Taxi said, "Before we could fill it up anytime when we want to. But if I fill it up more than ten gallons, they say no." "The gas, I mean I pulled in this morning, and gas in ten cents more than yesterday,” said Rene Roman from Wilmington. Bob Willard said, "I started seeing gas prices go up twenty thirty cents above this price which is strictly gouging the public." This afternoon Governor Easley enacted the price gouging law, which prohibits retailers from charging prices that are unreasonably excessive. However, the attorney general's office wouldn't put an exact amount on how high is too high.
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