09/01/05 — Got gas? Not for long

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Got gas? Not for long

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 1, 2005 2:06 PM

From staff reports

Gas prices have reached record prices in North Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Pump prices have climbed near $3 a gallon at most stations.

But the worst news is that drivers soon might not be able to find gas at any price.

The Colonial Pipeline, which provides most of the gasoline for North Carolina, runs through Mississippi and Louisiana and has been shut down because of electrical problems. According to the South Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association, the pipeline was trying to restart at 25 to 35 percent of normal capacity Wednesday night.

According to the association, generator power will allow Colonial to gradually increase the rate of output throughout the weekend.

All of the gasoline that E.J. Pope and Sons in Mount Olive delivers comes from Colonial, Judson Pope said Wednesday.

"It's going to be all up and down the east coast," he said. He said he believes Colonial delivers at least 95 percent of the gasoline coming to North Carolina. The pipeline starts in Houston, and it takes an average of about three weeks to get gas from there to North Carolina.

Lines were forming at many stations in Goldsboro this morning as motorists topped off their tanks in anticipation of the shortage.

At least one Goldsboro station was out of gas. The Breakers closed Wednesday when its tanks were drained.

In an ironic twist, pump prices in Wayne and surrounding counties are about the same as in the San Francisco-Oakland area of California, traditionally the most expensive area in the country.

A survey this morning of pump prices in Goldsboro ranged from $2.85 to $3.41 for unleaded regular.

A survey of gas prices Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco and Oakland by the Web site GasBuddy.com found prices ranging from $2.54 to $3.27. GasBuddy.com is a compilation of 170 gas price information Web sites in the United States and Canada.

Prices in Los Angeles, also traditionally one of the most expensive cities, ranged from $2.70 to $3.21 on Wednesday.

The cheapest gas spotted around Goldsboro this morning was at the So Lo station in Mar Mac for $2.85. Wilco Hess on U.S. 117 South was $2.87. Several stations were selling gas for $2.89 including and the Exxon station at Belfast, the Amaco station at the fairgrounds and Citgo near the fairgrounds.

Both the Belfast Exxon and the Exxon station at the intersection of Hood Swamp Road and U.S. 13 had premium gas for $2.99.

Sam's Club on North Park Drive was selling regular for $2.70 this morning for Sam's Club members.

The most expensive gas spotted today was at the Kangaroo station on Arrington Bridge Road at $3.41. The Trade Mart on Ash Street in downtown Goldsboro was selling regular for $3.25.

Along Berkeley Boulevard in Goldsboro, the least expensive gas was at two Chevron stations for $2.99. The most expensive was at Comco at $3.19.

Kinston stations were selling gas cheaper this morning than Goldsboro stations. A call to four stations found prices ranging from $2.71 to $2.87.

Gas in Raleigh on Wednesday was selling from $2.99 to $3.29 at stations listed on GasBuddy. Charlotte prices ranged from $2.49 to $3.19. Prices reached $4 a gallon in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Some areas in South Carolina had prices as high as $4 a gallon on Wednesday. Most prices in the state exceeded $3 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Pope said he expects the prices to continue to climb this week, because it was trading Wednesday afternoon at $2.90 a gallon. The companies have to add the state tax and the federal tax, which comes to about 45-cents a gallon, he said.