AAA says no to fill ups, Mint Hill drivers say yes

gas-pump.jpgDavid Parsons, President and CEO of AAA Carolinas tells drivers to not fill up as a result of Hurricane Ike barreling down on Texas.

“The worst thing that could happen would be for motorists to flock to gas stations to top off their tanks,” Parsons said. “That will worsen the situation before anyone knows what the damage will be.”

Mint Hill drivers, like a lot of motorists nationwide, didn’t want to take that chance. James Bolick, manager at Earps on N.C. 218, said his gas station was busy this morning with people waiting to fill their tanks.

One motorist filling up at Earps, who didn’t want to give his name, said his wife works in the gasoline industry and told him it’s a good idea to top off the gas tanks.

Mint Hill columnist Ed Tetenbaum said he took both cars out last night at 1 am to top off his tanks.

“Something told me people were going to start lining up this morning,” Tetenbaum said. He was right.

AAA PRESS RELEASE:

Gasoline prices in the wholesale market spiked yesterday as Hurricane Ike headed across the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas and its refineries. Some gasoline stations in the Carolinas have begun limiting the amount of a gasoline purchase and raising their pump prices.

“Hurricane Ike is projected to hit landfall in Texas Friday or Saturday and in anticipation of its storm path, refineries in the Gulf of Mexico have closed,” said David E. Parsons, CEO and President of AAA Carolinas.

“Gas prices have gone up and some stations have placed a restriction on the number of gallons customers can buy because it is unclear right now how long the refineries will remain closed or if they will sustain any damage,” he said.

“The worst thing that could happen would be for motorists to flock to gas stations to top off their tanks,” Parsons said. “That will worsen the situation before anyone knows what the damage will be. We encourage people not to panic, drive conservatively and don’t take unnecessary trips until the damage assessment is completed early next week.”

This gas spike comes on the heels of the closing of some refineries in the past few days based on the expected path of Hurricane Gustav, Parsons said, and Gustav did not cause any major damage and the refineries reopened and put more oil into the pipeline. Parsons said most refineries made significant changes to their oil rigs after Hurricane Katrina three years ago and these upgrades are designed to protect against hurricanes. Flooding and a loss of electricity are the biggest fears.

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