September 20, 2016

Hatteras gas stations weathering shortages from pipeline leak


A survey of a half dozen Hatteras Island gas stations from Rodanthe to Hatteras village turned up a few owners who were concerned about deliveries but none who had run out of gas or were expecting to.

Meanwhile, the good news for the station owners and the driving public is that the Colonial Pipeline Co. announced this morning that it has completed a bypass around the segment of leaking line in Alabama that has caused gasoline shortages in several states.  The company said that it expected gas to be flowing again Wednesday through the pipeline that supplies much of the East Coast.

"When Line 1 restarts, it will take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal," the company said this morning in a news release.  "As such, some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions."

Hatteras station owners have been told the same thing by their suppliers, most of whom are in the Hampton Roads area.  Suppliers are saying it could take a few days to a few weeks for deliveries to get back to normal, but by Thursday, stations should not be running out.

Gov. Pat McCrory, who issued executive orders last week to stop price gouging and ease tanker travel, said today that North Carolina has been receiving about one-third of its normal supply of gas.

The governor said today that several counties in North Carolina have been reporting intermittent fuel outages or low supplies, but that many of the outages are due to people topping off their tanks and extra fill ups.

Several Hatteras gas station owners reported heavy business on Monday.

"I sold more yesterday than I had in two to three weeks," said Ted Midgett, an owner of Teach's Lair Marina in Hatteras village, which has gas pumps for vehicles and boats.

"Sales are up.  The numbers are up," said Jarvis Williams, owner of Cape Point Exxon in Buxton.

Others reported they were seeing business as usual.

"Yesterday seemed busier," said Martha Caldwell, owner of Island Convenience, but when she went back and checked her records, gas sales were about the same as they had been.

The Outer Banks Voice reported that several service stations on the northern beaches were out  of fuel on Sunday.

However, none of the stations contacted by Island Free Press had run out of gas or expected to.

Williams said he got a load of gas this morning and that he has everything but supreme.

Williams said he had heard reports of stations running out of gas to the west of the Outer Banks -- toward Greenville and Raleigh.

However, he said he thinks because he sells a name brand, he might have an easier time getting gas than the unbranded stations.

"Exxon helps out," he said.  "They make sure you have gas."

Caldwell said she thought she had enough gas until her next load, which she found out today won't be delivered until Thursday.  She said it might be a little close, but if she is out it will be only for a few hours.

Caldwell said her supplier told her that she might get partial loads for a few weeks, but that after Thursday, she shouldn't have to worry about running out of gas.

Carlos Hernandez at Askins Creek store in Avon said his station also got a delivery this morning, and he is not at all worried about running out of gas.

"There's no panic here," he said.

John Couch of Lighthouse Service Center in Buxton said he is close to running out but is expecting a delivery tonight or, at the latest, tomorrow morning.

"We should be okay," he said. "I feel confident the people who have been serving me will keep me caught up."

"Our supplier has been able to keep up with what we need," said Susie Perry, an owner of Frisco Rod & Gun and Frisco Supermarket, which does a brisk business at its pumps.  "We got a delivery yesterday....We don't anticipate running out."

Perry said she and her employees have been getting phone calls from folks who are planning trips to Hatteras soon -- some this weekend.

"They are worried about coming down -- worried about getting here and getting back" she said.

Several other station owners reported similar calls, but they aren't advising anyone to stay home.

"Every day's going to get a little better," says Midgett, "but it will take a while to get back to normal."

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