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Customers scramble as gas prices rise, stations run dry in Piedmont Triad

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It’s been a frustrating start to the weekend for people in our area seeing either increased gas prices, or no gas at all at pumps in the Piedmont Triad.

Cars zipped out as quickly as they came into the Pop Shoppe gas station off Eastchester Drive in High Point.

They were greeted with yellow tape over every pump, with a sign saying “Due to the Colonial Pipeline in Alabama we are now out of gasoline.”

Last Friday, the Colonial Pipeline Co. discovered a leak in its major gas pipeline that spans from Houston to New York, supplying gasoline to stations across the southeast.

“It's hard to go around the city and do stuff when it’s hard to get gas,” said Dwight Johns who lives in High Point.

Johns and other people hunting to fill the tank had to swing by two to six gas stations before getting lucky. When they found a station with gas, they were greeted with a long line and higher prices.

Most stations raised prices in the area about 10 cents per gallon from Friday to Saturday.

“I need gas at a lower price,” said Kima Jordan at the pump. “It should be available, the necessities.”

“Nobody has really jacked up their prices to make a killing,” said Pop Shoppe owner Allen Hammons.

Hammons says pricing gas is a balancing act, and usually when a station raises prices, it’s because the supplier has raised prices on them.

“I think that 10-cent increase was just to try to get people to slow down purchasing because they basically knew this was gonna be coming,” he said. “I don't think they thought it was gonna be as bad as it is.”

As for his own supplier, they’re trying to truck gasoline from areas that have it. He may get a couple of fill-ups, but says it may be a whole week before his station is completely filled with gasoline for customers.

“They're saying before we get fully supplied back up here it could take six days,” Hammons said.

Hammons says right now the 87 grade of gasoline is the hardest to find. He also pointed out that once the leak is repaired, it will take time before the gas is flowing regularly again to the Carolinas.

The Colonial Pipeline Company started building a bypass line today around the leak site to allow Line 1 to return to service as rapidly and safely as possible. There is no timetable when the project will be complete.

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