September 20, 2016
Hatteras gas stations weathering shortages from pipeline leak
By IRENE NOLAN
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
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
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
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,
"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."