WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tuesday, fears of a gas shortage led to lines of cars stretching from gas station parking lots to main roads and highways. Some idled in line for hours, while others visited multiple stations to fill up their tanks, only to find some suppliers had already run out.
“I’ve been to about six so far,” said one woman. “Mmhm. Everywhere in Leland’s either got a line or are out. You know, just can’t find none.”
“I’ve been to four or five stations and they’re all packed,” said David Poe as he searched iPhone maps for another place.
“But I just came back from Grayson Park and passed the Circle K,” retiree, Mike Tohe said. “And they were backed up out to the highway. Not in the highway, but right up to it. Completely packed up so, I guess we’re having a toilet paper crisis kind of thing.”
“I filled up this morning as soon as I heard. I went ahead and filled up,” another man said.
Many were caught unaware as they pulled into stations looking for a fill-up.
Vanessa Alford said her car was on “E”, but if she could get home, she had a plan.
“I have some gas in a gas can at home that I use for my lawn mower,” Alford remembered. “But I’m going to fill that up, and if there’s no lines in Whiteville, I’m going to go there.”
Others like Wendy Mintz, a pizza delivery driver, were frustrated even though there was no gas shortage in this area, this rush on gas could impact her income.
“Delivery drivers ain’t going to be able to get anywhere if they don’t have gas to get there,” explained Mintz. “You won’t get your Amazon, your mail, your food, gas… you don’t get nothing without gas.”
It impacted more than a handful of drivers. New Hanover County School buses were delayed bringing kids home and traffic patterns were aggravated in the area.
As of 6 pm, 10.3 percent of North Carolinian gas stations reported they were out of gas, the highest in the nation.
According to AAA, gas prices in North Carolina have increased this week since the Colonial Pipeline outage. AAA branch manager, Sarah Hall maintains there will not be a gas shortage as long as drivers fill up responsibly and only when they need to.
“The situation is fluid. Call ahead. Plan ahead. Just be careful,” said Hall. “And like I said, If everyone calms down and is responsible, I think we’ll manage ok.”
To save on gas, AAA suggests rolling your windows down instead of turning on AC, taking anything unnecessary out of your car, and limiting trips.