Gas shortage: Experts say there’s no reason to panic

Local News

Lewisburg, WV (WVNS) — Drivers in southern West Virginia are flocking to the gas pumps following a reported gas shortage after the Colonial Pipeline hack. On Tuesday, May 11, 59News received multiple reports of long lines at gas stations, and some places selling out of gas.

In Lewisburg, Beckley, and Oak Hill, people were lining up at the pumps to refuel. Gas prices are also continuing to climb this week, up to $2.96 in some locations. We were told the Shell Station in Fairlea, WV was out of gas, as well as the Go Mart in Lewisburg, WV.

The colonial pipeline carries product from Texas to Maine. Greg Darby, the President of Little General, said at these pipelines there is product moving every minute, and up to four days worth of inventory at a time. He said most of the fuel coming into our area comes by truck from Roanoke or up the river from Charleston.

The product comes from the refineries in Texas to Roanoke through the pipeline, and if one of these steps stops working, it throws the whole system off.

“So when something happens, it really affects it for weeks and weeks because it has to get caught up and made up for the shortages,” said Darby.

Currently 17 states are in a state of emergency in response to the unavailability of gas. Darby said shortages were a problem before the pipeline.

“And another problem is truck driver shortage. There is a major truck shortage in today’s world even when we weren’t on allocation we were having trouble getting product,” said Darby.

Darby said we can expect a shortage while the pipeline companies work to get things back on track. People were already out at the pumps, and everyone has different ideas on what to expect.

“I’m scared they might have prices go up if there is a shortage. They are claiming in one of the states, I think it was North Carolina, they closed the stations and I need to go to work,” said Thomas Wood, who was filling up at a local gas station.

“No, I’m not panicking. I’m going to just take it one day at a time and if we run out then I guess we are gonna have to walk,” said Thomas Bradley, who was shopping at the same gas station.

Traci Nelson, the President of the WV Oil Marketers and Grocers Association, said people do not need to panic. They are hoping Colonial Pipeline will make a decision within the next day or so to come back online.

Both Nelson and Darby said there is not a fuel shortage, and any shortage in the area could be caused by panic buying.

“That can really be a problem because we are on allocation and we only get so much based off of what we normally sell so if people are going out an buying extras there will be shortages,” said Darby.

He said while he understands the concerns people have, he asks everyone to do their part to keep from making things worse.

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