RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers Association said most gas stations in the area are not seeing lines and have plenty of fuel.
“If people continue their normal buying habits we should get through this,” Gary Harris said.
According to Harris, “The pipeline system was never designed for everyone to fuel up at once” and “the system collapsed” as consumers saw in September when everyone tried to gas up at the same time, which created long lines and shortages.
Harris said most of the fuel used by gas stations in the Triangle comes from the pipeline, but he said there are indications of the repair to the pipeline might go quicker than the last time.
As tragic as the fire was in terms of injuries and death, the blaze also burned up much of the fuel that had spilled, Harris said.
In September’s pipeline incident, the spilled gasoline had to be removed before repairs could take place – this time that’s not the case because most of the spilled product was consumed by the fire.
This comes as good news just a day after Gov. Pat McCrory warned that the pipeline explosion could have a “tremendous” impact on the state.
“As you know…Colonial Pipeline has a tremendous impact on North Carolina’s fuel supply,” he said.
McCrory said the impact could be worse than back in September.
“There is potential damage to both lines one and two. If it’s both, one and two, it will be more severe than what we had a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
McCrory said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference that Colonial Pipeline had confirmed that one of the two actual pipes that makes up the pipeline is up and running. The pipe that is running carries diesel, jet fuel and similar substances, according to Colonial.
The other line, which is currently shut down, delivers about 70 percent of North Carolina’s fuel supply, McCrory said.
Meanwhile, AAA says it expects gas prices to increase slightly as a result of the pipeline incident. In and around the Raleigh area, CBS North Carolina crews have seen some gradual increase in the price of gasoline by several cents in a number of locations.
State officials continue to monitor the situation and Colonial Pipeline is posting periodic updates on its website.
Colonial has not indicated yet when the pipeline will be back online. They said Tuesday that they expect it will remain shut down for at least the rest of the week.