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What you need to know about the North Carolina gas shortage


A leak in a major east coast pipeline has caused a mess for drivers in North Carolina. People are facing long lines at the pump, higher prices, and some stations have run out of fuel completely.

Gov. Pat McCrory has activated the State Emergency Response Team to coordinate with counties regarding fuel needs.

Here’s what you need to know about the shortage.


The Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, had a 250,000-gallon leak in Alabama. The pipeline runs through North Carolina and supplies a large portion of the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline is working on a solution to repair the leak, but it could be days before it’s complete. The company said they are trying to get additional resources from Gulf Coast refiners to ship supplies.


Drivers are experiencing a mix of problems. Some gas stations haven’t been able to get shipments so they’ve run out of gas. Others are only selling certain types of fuel, often just premium.

Many stations that do have fuel have long waits with lines wrapped around the building.

Seeing high gas prices? Long lines? Share a photo using #abc11 or submit one here.

ABC11 viewers have been sharing photos of what they’ve been seeing in their area.


Most people are seeing higher prices at the pump which was expected due to the shortage. Average prices in the Triangle have risen nearly 10 cents since Friday.

However, there’s been some reports of price gouging.

So what is price gouging? Under North Carolina law, it’s when the price charged is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances. There is no set price or percentage increase defined in the law, so it can apply to different products and services in times of crisis.

Read more about price gouging here.

So far the N.C. Attorney General’s Office has received over 400 complaints


On Sunday, Colonial Pipeline leaders told state officials that they expect to have a bypass built by mid to late week. After that, it will take several days for fuel flow levels to return to normal. Until the bypass is built and repairs are made, expect gas prices to remain higher.


There’s a couple ways to not overpay during the shortage. The first is to shop around for the best gas price. As ABC11’s Diane Wilson reports, often a station with a much lower price is right around the corner.

Another way is to conserve fuel while driving. AAA suggests drivers accelerate gradually and anticipate stops by letting off the gas as early as possible.

Watch: Tips from AAA on how to conserve fuel

AAA also recommends running the air conditioner instead of rolling down the windows, because it actually creates less drag on the engine.

Be sure to check the air pressure in your tires, properly inflated tires leads to high miles per gallon.

Read more about the situation here.

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