CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Right now, gas stations are one of two things: Either swamped with people trying to fill up or a ghost town because they already ran out of gas.
Industry experts issued a warning for this, saying panic-buying would cause a premature shortage and it’s quickly becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and a major headache for thousands of drivers across the Carolinas.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” commuter Chloe Hadley said. “This is my third gas station and we finally found one.”
Hadley spent $100 for premium at Quik Trip just over the line in South Carolina. The station ran out of regular gas by 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“I’m lucky I guess I got what I got,” Hadley said.
While some stations saw lines of commuters filling up tanks and containers, others in the surrounding area and across North Carolina had out of service bags covering pumps.
“If there is a shortage that we are seeing a result of people panic-buying?” WJZY reporter Taylor Young asked Tiffany Wright with AAA of the Carolinas.
“It is,” Wright said. “That is the big reason for it and when you look at our supply and what we have domestically and what we have in the reserves we really shouldn’t be having this problem.”
A high demand for fuel is resulting in price jumps in West Charlotte.
The Shell gas station on Sam Wilson Road saw the cost per gallon increase by 10 cents within a few hours.
“I feel like I’m going to have to lay low for a bit,” a driver told FOX 46.
Drivers choosing to stay home due to rising gas prices isn’t new to the southeast. In 2016, the Colonial Pipeline shut down for 10 days following a gas leak.
A spokesperson for Gasbuddy says like then, the best option is to not panic.
“There will be gasoline that will flow as soon as the pipeline re-starts. Take this in stride it’s not the end of the world,” the Gasbuddy expert said.