Gov. Nikki Haley is urging South Carolina drivers not to panic amid reports of some gas shortages at independent stations and in smaller towns.
Stations in the Upstate and Midlands have had to get their fuel from other sources after a pipeline that supplies much of the Southeast was shut down last week due to a leak. South Carolina Petroleum Council President Bonnie Loomis said the sudden loss of supply is likely to impact smaller, “Mom and Pop” operations who rely on spot sales more than national retailers.
Haley said she is afraid those outages are being exacerbated by drivers concerned about the news who decide to top off their tanks. “The panic that is setting in is not helping the situation,” the governor told a group of reporters Tuesday following a State Fiscal Accountability Authority meeting. “Because that’s causing (stations) to sell gas at a faster pace than they would normally sell it. So we would ask people… keep things regular. Don’t panic.”
Also on Tuesday, a Colonial Pipeline spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press that the company has finished work on a temporary bypass near the spill site that will allow the pipeline to begin operating again on Wednesday. But the company expects it to be a few more days before the functioning pipeline impacts prices and availability.
Prices are continuing to rise across South Carolina due to the sudden loss of supply. AAA Carolinas is reporting it costs around 18 cents more per-gallon for regular gas than a week ago. The governor said there are no reports of price gouging at this point.
Haley said that, despite the outages, she does not think there is need for a state of emergency declaration as governors in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina have. The governor did issue two executive orders that lifted permitting, truck size, and work hour regulations to encourage more tanker truck deliveries into the state.