Fuel flowing to NC as Colonial restarts gas pipeline

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The frenzy for fuel is coming to an end, officials say (WTVD)

Officials believe relief is on the way for drivers after days of frantically searching for fuel in North Carolina.

Drivers will soon be able to find fuel at any gas station, but we aren't out of the woods just yet. Fuel productions remain at one-third capacity, and plenty of stations across the Triangle are still out of gas.

Wednesday, drivers saw some improvement at popular gas pumps in Raleigh. Our crew said one BP station in Raleigh had gas and had no disruptions in service all day. On Monday, stations that got a fresh fuel supply were sold out just hours later.

Watch: What you need to know about the NC gas shortage

Although there was gas available to motorists around the Triangle Wednesday, the problem isn't completely resolved.

State officials said there are still 800 places in North Carolina that don't have a drop of gas to sell.

As of Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina is still only receiving one-third of its normal supply. Tankers have been moving whatever is available from the Colonial Pipeline's depot in Selma, but the supply did not meet the state's need.

Colonial Pipeline has restarted the gasoline pipeline in Alabama that was shut down.

Company officials said in a statement that the pipeline reopened Wednesday evening. The pipeline leak was discovered Sept. 9 near Helena, Alabama, when state workers noticed a strong gasoline odor and sheen on a man-made retention pond.

The company has estimated that 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the line. The shutdown of the pipeline led to dry pumps at gas stations in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The company says it will take several days for fuel supplies to return to normal in markets served by the pipeline. More than 800 people were on site in the restart efforts.

While some gas stations wait in limbo, drivers are experiencing some relief at the pump. The frenzy to fuel up appears to be dying down.

"It's amazing to come [to the gas station] with no lines," said Raleigh resident Dennis Paterson.

"The last couple of days, I was actually running on empty, so I just pulled up now and it doesn't seem like there's a lot of people, so I'm able to fill up," said Brad Dinkel, another Raleigh resident.

Tiffany Dancy says she's been stuck in Raleigh, as she couldn't find gas to get home.

"I'm about to give out," Dancy said. "I've been trying to get all the way to Rocky Mount and it's very hard."

Drivers continue to deal with soaring gas prices. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Triangle is $2.21, which is 16 cents more than this time last week.

"[It was a] pretty quick jump in prices," said Raleigh resident Lynwood Dees. "I'm hopeful that's going to change real soon."

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Attorney General's office received about 1,340 reports about possible price gouging at the pumps since Friday.


A.G. Roy Cooper issued subpoenas to two more gas stations Wednesday, bringing the total number of subpoenas to seven.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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