Lines formed at gas stations in Hickory as some stores ran out of fuel on Tuesday as part of the gas shortage that is hitting the Southeast.
The shortages are the result of a cyberattack affecting the Colonial Pipeline, a major conduit that serves the East Coast, according to the Associated Press.
Drivers flocked to fill up at Mel’s Superette on Old Lenoir Road, where fuel purchases were limited to $20.
The nearby Valero station was out of gas. The Raceway store just up the road from Mel’s was out of everything but diesel fuel.
Even at Mel’s, the gas was going quickly. Mel’s co-owner Phillip Annas said he started out with 1,600 gallons this morning and was below 1,000 gallons around 10 a.m.
With supplies quickly being exhausted, Annas said it would likely be days before he gets more.
“I talked to my gas supplier this morning, and he’s telling me that it may be as late as Thursday or Friday before I get any more gas,” Annas said. “He said he might be able to get me some premium, but regular is a sure thing to be out of.”
Taylorsville resident Craig Collins Jr., 51, was one of many who came to Mel’s to get gas on Tuesday. He said he could see the gas prices climbing in Bethlehem.
“I hope it don’t go up no more,” Collins said. “About can’t afford it as it is.”
As she waited in line to get gas at Mel’s, Hickory resident Nancy Corpening, 75, said she could not remember conditions like this since the gas crisis in the 1970s.
“I think everybody’s temperament is a little short going through the pandemic and feeling like we were on the other side of that and now this. So hopefully everybody can remain calm and get through this, too,” Corpening said.
Evidence of the shortages also was clear along N.C. 127.
The Exxon station on Second Street NE and the BP station on North Center Street had lines late Tuesday morning.
Gas was out at the Circle K on North Center Street, and employees said they did not know when they would get more.
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.