Around the Southeast, gas stations and wholesalers are trying to settle down from the mayhem surrounding the gas pipeline leak in Alabama earlier this month.
In the week following the report of the leak, the North Carolina Attorney General’s office received 1,340 complaints about price gouging. While no percentage or specific amount is used by the Attorney General’s office to determine gouging, social media was abuzz with users crying foul over hikes ranging from 10 cents to upwards of two dollars.
Of the 1,340 complaints, seven subpoenas were issued to gas stations and wholesalers in Guilford, Forsyth, Johnson, Rockingham, Union, and Wake counties. Some of the businesses were charging more than $4.99 per gallon, according to the Attorney General’s office.
Locally, most gas stations seemed to pass along only a small rise in price.
“I know of folks who got some product from a different location, like Charleston, S.C.,” said Mac Campbell of Campbell Oil. “It takes more time to drive there than usual, so those people try to just absorb the price and remain competitive.
“It doesn’t do anybody any favors — either the company or the customers — to try to take advantage of a bad situation,” He added.
Once news of the leak was broadcast, a winter-storm-type panic ensued, despite reassurances that the leak would be contained and that normal distribution would be resumed within a week.
“It’s just human nature,” said Campbell. “just like before a storm, you don’t find bread. People ran out and filled up everything in sight. If it were to happen again two months from now, the same thing would happen because it’s just human nature. It leveled off after the first 48 hours once people realized it wasn’t going to be longer term.”
The Champs store across from Bladen Community College ran out of gasoline, as did several of Campbell Oil’s stores. Campbell said their drivers had to wait three to six hours in line to receive fuel, and their daily allocation was cut in half. They did, however, try to spread the diminished supply around so that everyone “stayed wet,” or had at least some gasoline on the pumps.
Now that the gas crisis is over, folks are wondering what will happen to prices — though some in the region have begun to go down.
“I’ve been here all my life, and all it would take is some blip on the the world map, and the situation could change,” said Campbell. “A lot of people a lot smarter than I am don’t know what’s going to happen with prices.
“We’re blessed today compared to where we were a year ago,” he continued. “Pricing has been competitively low, more so than I would have thought. The price of crude oil is a day-by-day event, and I wouldn’t begin to predict that.”
Go Gas management could not be reached for comment.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.