Drivers race to gas stations, find long lines, high prices

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - If you spent part of your day searching for gas, you’re not alone. Many people in the Cape Fear raced to gas stations today only to find that they were too late.

Tensions are high as people line up to fill their gas tanks, waiting hours for a chance to get to the pump while dodging road blocks along the way.

“People cutting in line. Many stations completely out of gas,” said Annie Miller, who visited five gas stations before finding one where she could fill up. “People are trying to do the best that they can in a difficult situation and that’s always a challenge.”

Another problem drivers are facing: hoarders making it to the pumps before they can.

“A lot of people need gas for their jobs like landscapers, pressure washers and all that,” said Wilmington resident Maurice Flood. “The people that just need to cut their grass and stuff like that, getting cans, five-gallons... I’ve seen a couple people filling up their tanks plus had gas cans and I don’t think they need it like that.

The frenzy started Monday night and by noon on Tuesday, many gas stations had run dry.

“I figured I’ll come down to Monkey Junction and this is the first place I saw and I saw cars lined up, but it wasn’t as long as it is now,” said Flood, who waited an hour to get to the pump. He said drivers farther behind him in the line may have to wait two.

When people do find the needle in a haystack, they find they’ll have to pay for their luck.

“I think this one is $2.95 or even $3. I’ve seen them up to $3.23,” said Flood. “A lot of places are running out of the lower octanes and you have to settle for the higher octanes which is more expensive.”

Miller says she stopped paying attention to prices as she realized her options were limited. The price of not filling the tank might be higher when it comes to things people may miss without a way to get places.

“If I can’t fill up today, we miss a funeral and getting to and from school will be an issue,” said Miller.

With each gas station inevitably falling on empty, people are saying their prayers in hopes that they catch a break.

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