Wilmington Gas Prices Jump in Aftermath of Katrina

AUGUST 30, 2005 -- It's a race against time as Wilmington residents pull into the pumps, squeezing as much gas from the nozzles as their tanks will allow. Many residents fear the price of gasoline will go up to $3.00 a gallon.

"I heard gas prices were going up this afternoon so I decided to top off today," says Annette Watkins.

Prices at some local stations are reaching as high as $2.91 for a regular gallon of gas.

"I'm surprised by that much of a jump. Especially since we don't know how much crude oil has been taken out," says UNCW Economics Professor Woody Hall.

About a quarter of the nation's crude oil comes from the Gulf, and most of that is refined in New Orleans.

The Coast Guard is reporting that seven oil rigs are adrift and nine oil refineries have shut down. This means the cost of oil has gone up to $70.00 a barrel.

Hall predicts the jump may be premature.

"If not as much has been taken out, prices may back off a bit. If more has been taken out, it will rise," says Hall.

Before all the stations raise their prices, residents crowd in to fill up every tank they have.

Reported by Ashley Hayes