© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pipeline Spill Causing Gas Shortages and Price Gouging Complaints

Jenn Durfey
Pipeline spill causes gas prices to rise

Gas prices went up an average of 11 cents over the past week, following a massive leak in a gas pipeline that’s a major supplier to the Southeast. Some local stations are running out of fuel and the attorney general’s office has received hundreds of price gouging complaints.

The affected Colonial Pipeline runs from Houston to New Jersey. The leak was spotted in Alabama Sept 9. AAA says average gas prices in North Carolina jumped from $2.05 to $2.16 within the last week. Some stations are posting much higher prices, and Kevin Anderson, the state Department of Justice’s consumer protection director says the agency has received more than 500 complaints of price gouging.

“We’ve seen some in the $4, $5 and $6 range that raised some concern,” Anderson said. “There was a $9.99 a gallon posted and we were told by the station that they never charged that price but posted it when they ran out of gas and later took it down.”

Credit Rusty Clark / Flickr
Gas prices rose an average of 11 cents in the past week

Anderson says stations found guilty of price gouging could face fines of $5,000.

Stations are running out of gas. At a Shell station on Carmel Road they had no gas on Sunday. Today the station received 50 percent of its normal allocation. A Quik Trip station manager on Wilkinson Boulevard says they have no gas.

Quik Trip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh says they are looking for alternative fuel supplies while the pipeline is being repaired.

“We’re trying to secure product through barges, from other markets, provided it’s legal to do so and if we can, trying to see if railroad cars out there have gasoline,” Thornbrugh said.

He says their strategy also includes cutting off fuel supplies to many stations to make sure at least one or two in each market they serve has a constant gas supply. In Charlotte, four Quik Trips have gas, but two of them have no premium fuel.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.