Recovering from fuel shortage ‘will take a few weeks’ in NC, analyst says

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — According to GasBuddy’s top analyst, Patrick De Haan, the news Friday morning about fuel availability in North Carolina isn’t as good as many hoped it might be.

De Haan said that 69 percent of all North Carolina gas stations were without fuel as of Friday morning, down from 74 percent Wednesday night and back to where it was on Thursday evening.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, GasBuddy said the following state’s gas stations are without gas:

GA – 49%

AL – 9%

TN – 33%

SC – 51%

NC – 69% (Update as of 9 p.m. is 67%)

FL – 30%

VA – 51%

MD – 42%

MS – 7%

WV – 6%

KY – 3%

DC – 87%

NJ – 1%

DE – 4%

De Haan said some areas in North Carolina saw improvements in outages overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, including Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington.

Data provided by GasBuddy showed that some areas of North Carolina saw gas availability down to less than 20 percent on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

As of 9 a.m. Friday, there wasn’t a single North Carolina city with less than 40 percent outages.

De Haan said on Thursday that that getting gas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia could “be a headache” for up to two weeks.

“About 7-14 days of headaches if you need fuel in GA, NC, SC or VA. The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he tweeted.

On Friday morning, De Haan said that, for a number of reasons, people should not “expect most areas to start a solid downward trend in outages until weekend or so.”

De Haan went on to say that recovery “will take a few weeks.”

As of Thursday evening, 77 percent of gas stations in the Raleigh-Durham metro area were without fuel.

De Haan said that fuel outages should be less than 20 percent, hopefully, by Memorial Day weekend.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Gas shortages at the pumps are spreading from the South to the Mid-Atlantic states, where Virginia and the District of Columbia have become some of the hardest-hit areas following a cyberattack that forced a shutdown of the nation’s largest gasoline pipeline.

The tracking service on Friday showed that 86% of gas stations were out of fuel in Washington, D.C., more than half were out in Virginia and 42% of Maryland stations were dry. More than 70% of stations were without gas in North Carolina, and more than half were tapped out in Georgia and South Carolina.

A gas station owner in Virginia said panic buying is the problem.

“It’s like a frenzy,” Barry Rieger, who owns a gas station in Burke, Virginia, told WJLA-TV.

Why a warning to not panic buy turned into a run on fuel in NC

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline on Thursday reported making “substantial progress” in resolving the computer hack-induced shutdown. It said operations had restarted and gasoline deliveries were being made in all of its markets. It will take “several days” for things to return to normal, and some areas may experience “intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period,” the company said.

At least five North Carolina school systems announced Thursday that they would shift to remote learning as the gasoline supply crisis continued. Among them: Durham, Franklin, Vance and Wake counties, which canceled in-person learning for Friday. The email sent to parents in the Wake County system, the largest in North Carolina, cites “the impact of the gas shortage on staffing availability and student transportation.”

Businesses were also feeling the sting.

At Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Georgia, all the maintenance and safety vehicles have to be filled up before stock-car racing the next two Saturdays, but “all the gas stations close to use — within a mile of us — are out of gas,” said Mia Green, the track’s general manager. She’s heard of at least a couple of racetracks in the region that canceled upcoming races this weekend because race crews might not be able to get there due to gas shortages.

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A cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them hit the pipeline on May 7. The hackers didn’t take control of the pipeline’s operations, but Colonial shut it down to contain the damage.

President Joe Biden said U.S. officials do not believe the Russian government was involved in the hack. But he added, “We do have strong reason to believe that the criminals who did the attack are living in Russia. That’s where it came from.”

The Colonial Pipeline stretches from Texas to New Jersey and delivers about 45% of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but the trees are thinning out,” Richard Joswick, global head of oil analytics at S&P Global Platts, said.

Gas stations should be back to normal next week if the pipeline restart goes as planned and consumers are convinced they no longer need to panic-buy fuel, Joswick said. Full recovery would take several more weeks, he estimated.

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