The gas panic gripping North Carolina over the past few days has plunged many people into a desperate search for stations that are open — and now around a quarter of gas stations in the state are without fuel.
Gas demand across the U.S. jumped 14.3% over the past seven days, and the average national price is now more than $3 a gallon, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com.
North Carolina has been hit the worst. The closure of the Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel supplier, has caused 74% of the state’s gas stations to run out, De Haan said. In Georgia and Virginia, it’s over 50%.
The gas shortages are even worse in the Tar Heel State’s two largest cities, according to De Haan.
The biggest shortages were reported in the Raleigh/Durham area, with an estimated 72% of stations without gas Wednesday morning. In Charlotte, about 71% of stations are without gasoline. The app currently shows gas availability is best on the northeast side of Charlotte and worst on the southeast side, while gas availability appeared to be best on Raleigh’s south side.
The Greenville/New Bern/Washington region is seeing shortages of around 69%.
The mountains of North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina are also seeing shortages, with 78% of stations without gas in the region from Greenville/Spartanburg north to the Asheville area of North Carolina.
To use the Gas Buddy app, go to GasBuddy.com, click on “Find Gas” and search by state or by city. The site not only provides station names and addresses, but an overall map of the city, showing where gas is most easily found. GasBuddy officials reported Wednesday the app is “struggling under the weight of record traffic to the site.”
Nearly 1,800 gas stations are currently out in the seven states impacted by the Colonial Pipeline, GasBuddy reports.
Among the worst hit cities in the south: Almost 60% of stations in metro Atlanta ran out of gas early Wednesday, De Haan said.
Colonial Pipeline — which provides the East Coast with about 45% of its gasoline — was the victim of a cyberattack over the weekend, prompting the company to temporarily halt operations. A cybercrime group called DarkSide was behind the attack, the FBI said.
Pipeline officials said they hope to “substantially” restore the flow of gas late in the week, McClatchy News reports.
“While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach,” the company said. “This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Monday that suspended “motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supplies throughout the state.” Cooper urged consumers to report price gouging and to resist buying gas when not absolutely necessary.