Local gas stations on empty as drivers search for fuel | The Wake Weekly
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Local gas stations on empty as drivers search for fuel

Posted on May 12, 2021

Updated on May 16, 2021

Top newsLocal news
Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretch from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

Amanda Dixon | Butner-Creedmoor News

Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretch from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

After some quick words and a $10 exchange, Conner Crain, owner of a local landscaping company, fills up a passerby’s fuel tank with some of the excess gas he had slated for use in his landscaping equipment.

Jack Kessler | Special to The Wake Weekly

After some quick words and a $10 exchange, Conner Crain, owner of a local landscaping company, fills up a passerby’s fuel tank with some of the excess gas he had slated for use in his landscaping equipment.

The manager and employees of Lowes Foods coordinate traffic through the store’s gas station on Tuesday, as buyers flooded local gas stations and pumped reserves dry.

Jack Kessler | Special to The Wake Weekly

The manager and employees of Lowes Foods coordinate traffic through the store’s gas station on Tuesday, as buyers flooded local gas stations and pumped reserves dry.

Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretched from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

Amanda Dixon | Butner-Creedmoor News

Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretched from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretch from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

Amanda Dixon | Butner-Creedmoor News

Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretch from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

After some quick words and a $10 exchange, Conner Crain, owner of a local landscaping company, fills up a passerby’s fuel tank with some of the excess gas he had slated for use in his landscaping equipment.

Jack Kessler | Special to The Wake Weekly

After some quick words and a $10 exchange, Conner Crain, owner of a local landscaping company, fills up a passerby’s fuel tank with some of the excess gas he had slated for use in his landscaping equipment.

After some quick words and a $10 exchange, Conner Crain, owner of a local landscaping company, fills up a passerby’s fuel tank with some of the excess gas he had slated for use in his landscaping equipment.
The manager and employees of Lowes Foods coordinate traffic through the store’s gas station on Tuesday, as buyers flooded local gas stations and pumped reserves dry.
Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretched from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.
Cars waiting for fuel in Butner at the Valero station Wednesday afternoon stretch from C Street down Central Avenue to Gate 2 Road. The station was limiting fuel purchases to $20 per vehicle in order to serve as many customers as possible.

Special to The Wake Weekly

WAKE FOREST — Gas shortages and panicked runs on the pumps are causing grief for local gas station owners and their customers. 

After a main fuel artery for the region, Colonial Pipeline, was temporarily shut down by a ransomware attack last week, major stations struggled to meet demand and minor ones pumped dry.

Mena Guergue, store manager of Taylor Mart gas station on Wait Avenue in Wake forest, said customers started pulling in around 7 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, lines of cars eight or nine deep began queuing on both sides of the building, he said. 

Drivers were looking to buy gas, which had jumped in price by 30 cents per gallon over the past two days.

“We ran out of premium ... I'd say around, probably, 12,” Guergue said. “Then we just ran out of regular.”

Guergue and his cousin — who he said operates another station in town — have tried to order a fuel restock through their usual supplier. He said they’ve gotten no response.

“There is no delivery right now. We called the company to deliver the gas for us last couple of days, but there is nothing,” said Guergue, “Today (my cousin) called them to make an order again and see when it's available, but there's no one answering.”

The situation was little improved at the Lowes Food gas station off Dr. Calvin Jones Highway, which found itself pumped dry by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The next two hours saw customers queue up by the dozen, waiting for the station to refill on gas, so they could do the same.

“Mass hysteria over nothing — that's basically it,” said Kim Vulcheff, an onlooker from the parking lot, “They’re panic buying — and that’s what's going to cause actual shortages. It's like toilet paper and paper towels all over again.”

“It’s crazy,” said Conner Crain, who owns the Wake Forest landscaping company The Land Lord, who pulled into an empty gas station looking for fuel Tuesday. “I mean look at all this, it's crazy,” 

Crain says he pumped as much gas as he could Monday night — which gives him, if he manages it sparingly, enough fuel to run his truck and landscaping equipment until next Tuesday.

“I have 10 extra gallons, 15 extra gallons maybe, and that’s to run all my equipment. All of my equipment’s full right now, but I’ve got 45, 50 yards to maintenance, I’ve got two children, a wife,” Crain said. “It's my responsibility to take care of all income, everything. So If I don’t have gas, I don’t have a way of working.”

In response to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and has suspended motor fuel regulations, a press release from the governor’s office said.

Cooper said he had spoken with federal officials about the situation Tuesday, stating he had a “full court press to get the Colonial Pipeline back up and fully operating quickly.”

“Report price gouging and please don't rush to top off your tanks,” Cooper wrote in a tweet. 

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