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More than 80 percent of county gas stations have limited to no fuel

Even after Colonial Pipeline announced it was restarting its operations late Wednesday, people across Stanly County and the state are still waiting in long lines to purchase gas.

There were 32 gas stations in the county that had limited fuel options as of Friday morning, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks fuel prices and demand. Another six stations have no fuel or power. Those totals account for more than 80 percent of all the gas stations in the county, per GasBuddy.

As of around 9:30 a.m. Friday, GasBuddy reported that 67 percent of North Carolina’s gas stations had fuel outages, the largest percentage of any state along the East Coast.

Drivers in the Carolinas, along with Georgia and Virginia, should expect up to two weeks “of headaches,” GasBuddy.com energy analyst Patrick De Haan said on Twitter on Thursday morning.

“The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he said.

He added in a Friday morning tweet that “Too many stations need fuel, not enough capacity at the rack, not enough truck drivers.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order Monday following the news that Colonial Pipeline, which stretches from Texas to New Jersey and provides about 45 percent all fuel consumed on the East Coast, shut down following a ransomware attack. FBI confirmed earlier this week that the hacking group DarkSide was responsible for the attack.

North Carolina’s gas price average sits at $2.91, according to AAA Carolinas, 12 cents more expensive than Tuesday and 20 cents more expensive than last week.

Stanly’s gas price average is $2.85, up 12 cents since Tuesday, though still one of the lowest price averages in the state, according to AAA. It’s 7 cents lower than Mecklenburg, for example, and 5 cents lower than Cabarrus. The western part of the state appears to be the worst, with average prices approaching or even exceeding $3.

Stanly County Airport director Ken Swaringen said the airport hasn’t been impacted, as it recently received fuel shipments.

“We don’t foresee severe impact at this point because we know there’s fuel available and it’s just us scheduling and ordering and them being able to get it in a truck and get it delivered,” Swaringen said.

As people continue to fret over the availability of gas, President Joe Biden on Thursday warned gas station owners against price gouging.

“I also want to say something to the gas stations: Do not, I repeat, do not try to take advantage of consumers during this time,” Biden said, speaking from the White House.
Biden said he was going to work with governors in affected states and direct federal agencies to provide assistance to monitor and put an end to price gouging.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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