GasBuddy reports 71% of gas stations without fuel in Charlotte metro amid Colonial Pipeline shutdown

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 9:23 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline is causing a ripple effect on drivers in the Queen City.

There were long lines, or worse, no gas at many service stations in the area.

According to Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan, 71% percent of gas stations are out of fuel in the Charlotte metro area.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police provided an update on what they called a “gas crisis” Wednesday morning.

Police are asking residents to do the following:

  • Limit non-essential travel
  • Check on your neighbors
  • Do not hoard fuel

“We are going to get through this,” CMPD Capt. Brad Koch said. “Similar to when we have severe weather and we lose a lot of bread and milk at stores.”

Koch compared the fuel purchasing to the start of the pandemic when people bought toilet paper and hand sanitizer in excess. “We are going to get through this fuel crisis.”

The actions of the police departments will not be impacted during the fuel shortage, according to CMPD.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline reached above $3 for the first time since 2016 Wednesday, according to the AAA auto club.

So, when is it going to get back to normal?

Colonial Pipeline says they should be back up and running in a matter of days, but that doesn’t mean things will snap back to normal.

Until then, experts, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, are asking people not to rush to the pump.

“If they didn’t have none right here, I’d have to call AAA,” driver Harold Acker said. “At the gas station so that would have been crazy. AAA, where you at? I’m at the gas station.”

Acker can joke about it now.

After hitting several service stations in the area, he finally found one with some gas.

“I just got me a good $30 worth and I’m good. I was about to run out,” Acker said.

Acker said there is a trick to it.

That just because there’s a bag on the pump doesn’t mean there’s no fuel in the tank.

“I just inserted my card and it pumped my gas,” Acker said. “Because it still has some in the tank. But inside they won’t sell you any because it’s so low I guess.”

“I have to get some soon. This won’t last me another day, really,” said driver Breeana Herron.

Herron is in a little more of a dire predicament.

“This is the third gas station I’ve been to,” she said. “The first two the line was out of the drive-through, or driveway. And the third one, this one is out of gas.”

Lines at the pump started piling up as the supply chain became squeezed.

Track the lowest gas prices in our area here.

A video from Sky 3 shows had bad it got at some stations.

However, drivers would rather deal with the lines, than empty tanks.

It’s actually kinda sad. This is what everyone lives off of - going to work and school.

Ricky Kelly said it is looking pretty bleak out there.

“It’s looking really rough. It’s looking pretty bad out here,” Kelly said.

Steve Berzon is frustrated with how we got here in the first place.

“We have all the security experts in the world in the United States and we can’t stop a hack,” Berzon said.

Acker said despite it all, you have to have the perseverance to get through it.

“So you just gotta try. I did and it worked and it paid off and I’m proud,” Acker said.

Several managers at these gas stations tell WBTV if you’re on the hunt for gas, try going at off hours like at night. But again -- experts say there isn’t a shortage.

The long lines and empty tanks are because people are rushing to gas stations and hoarding gasoline.

So unless it’s a dire need -- don’t come to just top off.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency allowing for fuel transportation waivers in the wake of the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline.

In response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, Cooper signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina and temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state.

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