“It’s just gonna take time’

By on May 13, 2021

Experts say NC’s gas crunch will last a while

(Mark Jurkowitz)

Even with Colonial Pipeline operations restarted, several experts say that motorists in the area and state will have a wait before the situation at the pumps returns to normal.

In a twitter post on the morning of May 13, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, unveiled a “headache” metric – signifying how long it will be “a headache if you need fuel.” He predicted 7-14 days of “headaches” for motorists in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina.

“The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he said. As of noon on May 13, De Hann also reported that 68% of North Carolina’s gas stations were without fuel, a tiny improvement over the day before.

In an interview with the Voice, Michael Harrell, owner of the Jernigan Oil Company, which hauls fuel to 350 locations including Eastern North Carolina, described the current supply situation simply as “not good.”

“It’s going to take time, I would say ‘weeks’ [before] all stations have all grades of gas all of the time,” Harrell stated. “It will get better. It’s just gonna take time.”

Almost all the gas for the Outer Banks, Harrell said, comes out of Chesapeake “and pretty much all of these terminals are empty…The trucks are taking it out faster than the pipeline can put it in.” He added that “basically we don’t have enough trucks or drivers to get [gas stations] resupplied in a timely fashion.”

Harrell also offered some advice as to how drivers could do their part to ease the situation. Unless their vehicles are low on gas, he said, “They don’t need to keep buying and buying.”

In a related matter, at the May 11 Dare County Board of Education meeting, Schools Superintendent John Farrelly explained that the Dear County School District has three weeks’ worth of school bus fuel on reserve.

If the gas shortage continued and it was necessary, the superintendent noted that Dare County Transportation Director Alex Chandler had said that athletic buses could be discontinued to get students to their classrooms through the remainder of the school year.





  • R. Bo

    Come on people, Stop being so stupid. Instead of driving around, trying to fill up your gas cans (and soda bottles, plastic bags etc.) stay home and try to use up all that toilet paper you bought last year! This “shortage” is being caused by hoarding. Don’t be so selfish. And gas stations- how about a 20 gallon limit?

    Thursday, May 13 @ 8:46 pm
  • Paul

    About time that gas stations put a limit on purchases…and no filling gas cans.

    Thursday, May 13 @ 8:47 pm
  • Frank Zappa

    Many Americans are spoiled. They’re like a child who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it. I’m American and I believe these types of supply problems show many in the general public that we are not invincible and sometimes you don’t get what you want when you want it.
    I do hope that we, as a Nation, spend more on cybersecurity to protect our supply chain and production though.

    Friday, May 14 @ 6:23 am
  • F. S.

    @ R. Bo “stupid, selfish?” For showing some initiative? Some of us don’t have access to proper gas receptacles!

    Friday, May 14 @ 7:37 am
  • RAJ

    One thing that worked to limit gas lines in the 70’s during the Arab oil embargo was to implement minimum gas purchases. That meant you had to buy a minimum of 10 gallons of gas when you pumped. This stopped all but the foolish from lining up to top off their tanks.

    Friday, May 14 @ 10:16 am
  • Sandman

    Yes STUPID and SELFISH… gas container costs 5–10 bucks! Failure to plan ahead is not our problem, it’s yours! Go read WHY YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED to use unapproved containers to store fuel and use the correct receptacle! You’ll end up a fireball rolling down the street if you don’t! Stop hoarding people! Geez

    Friday, May 14 @ 10:43 am
  • Bob

    And how about we remove the “price gouging” limitation. If gas was $5/gallon, that would slow down hoarding as well. It seems that most stations have higher grades of gas, which tells me the hoarders aren’t willing to pay a premium… Sure, it would suck to pay that price if you really needed it, but maybe you would get 5 gallons worth with the expectation that prices would likely be lower by the next time you need it as the situation will only get better.

    Friday, May 14 @ 11:14 am
  • Tri-Village

    I’m just throwing this out there. Gasoline can eat through some plastics. Using a plastic bag to put gas in could cause a real mess. Do some research before you start filling up any random container.

    Friday, May 14 @ 11:27 am
  • June

    I grew up in a small beach town on the west coast and know first hand tourist are the small beach towns bread and butter no matter what coast your on like it or not. You get bad tourists and you get great tourists that come during on and off seasons. I plan on being in the outer banks this week with my family celebrating our kids graduation from college. We know it will be hard to get in and out and will do a fill up before heading across. We also planned on limiting not driving around because of the issues . This is not a normal time we live in, to Frank Zappa nasty keyboard warrior. “Take note” yourself! Making comments directed at tourists does not help your local economy. Sure they will get tourist dollars this season but maybe some tourists will “take note” and not book next season or someone who was thinking of visiting for the fist time might “take note” and take a hard pass when they see comments such as yours. Please if you own a local business let me know where I should not spend my hard earned dollars. In response also to another commenter that most Americans are selfish and spoiled when things go wrong. That is not inclusive to America. I can assure you I have seen this first hand in many other countries. Gas stations should have put limits on gas right away instead many got greedy along with the folks hoarding.

    Friday, May 14 @ 2:46 pm
  • Common sense

    I have to agree with R. Bo. This shortage is being caused by people rushing to buy as much gas as they can whether they need it or not. Crisis brings out the worst in people COVID and now this show the depth of people’s greed and selfishness. I saw heavier traffic Tuesday night because so many people were wasting the gas they had to drive around looking for gas, it’s absolute lunacy!

    The pipeline is working now so stop hoarding gas.
    It is extremely stupid to be storing gasoline in bags and bottles, there’s a reason for gas cans and every person that uses a lawnmower or other gas powered equipment should have at least one.

    Friday, May 14 @ 3:20 pm
  • Yea, no.

    F.S how is riding around hoarding gasoline “showing initiative”? It’s dangerous and extremely selfish to be running to the gas station getting more gas than you need.

    Friday, May 14 @ 3:22 pm
  • Dylan

    I sure hope that all those gas hoarders don’t store their plastic baggies full of gas with their toilet paper from last year. Imagine that fireball……

    Friday, May 14 @ 9:06 pm
  • Ken Fucci

    Seems like a 8 gallon minimum and no containers will bring folks back to normal quick….also, and the oil embargo is my only experience, i think it will take more like 2-3 weeks to straighten this mess out. Trying to get tourists to give a sh.. is beyond my pay grade, ain’t gonna happen. I was getting my tank filled by a nice lady at Kitty Hawk Brew-thru, running and doing a good job giving gas, and the 3 cars in front of me filled a 5 gallon container each and she had to do all the work or they would have had a bomb go off in their trunk within a couple of miles down the road. Crazy ass world we live in now. Are Outer Bankers the only ones with any sense left ????? Maybe Hurricanes have made us a little more conscious and “neighbor helping neighbor” people.

    Saturday, May 15 @ 4:29 pm
  • Frank Zappa


    Your comment calling me a nasty keyboard warrior is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. Yes I understand that this area is a tourist based economy but you don’t live here year round. You come for your stay and then your gone. Yes there’s bad and good tourists but the former seems to be more and more than the latter. Behavior in the past 5 years or more becomes increasingly more and more atrocious from more and more visitors. So…in your mind…we folks that live here year round should just sit back and keep our mouths quiet while the area is trashed more and more and crime increases. I also have traveled the world too June. I also lived on the Coast in your side on the West Coast from Washington to California in my lifetime. Look at what’s happening to alot of beach towns in California. Completely used up and completely trashed. I hate to say it but it’s the truth. Enjoy your stay this week June and I’ll try to keep my Southern Hospitality shining. Hopefully things will improve all over the OBX, the United States and the World. Im afraid might shine is dimming though June. Take care!!

    Sunday, May 16 @ 4:57 am