Attorney General Roy Cooper sent subpoenas to seven gasoline retailers on Monday, some of whom were reportedly charging as much as $5.49 a gallon for regular gas on Friday. Cooper said retailers will have 10 days to explain why their prices were so high. The Quik Chek stations in Troy, Oakboro and Locust were included in the first round of subpoenas.
Mary Tyler of Midland said her brother called her about the possible gas shortage Friday morning. “He called me at work and said I’d better get some gas in my car. I got to the Hess Station and had to wait 30 minutes for gas.”
This story appeared courtesy of The Weekly Post, a community newspaper based in Locust covering west Stanly County.
It was the same story for many other residents of Stanly and Cabarrus Counties as the effects of Hurricane Ike on 15 refineries in Texas began to be felt last week. Some people hurried home from work when they found gas stations closing down in Charlotte. Angry drivers watched as the price of a gallon of gas rose at some stations more than $1.00 a gallon overnight at the fear of gas shortages.
Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of abnormal market disruption under North Carolina law, which charges the Attorney General with enforcing the price gouging statute. Phone lines were jammed with thousands of calls from across the state as prices rose, sometimes as much as 50 cents a gallon while drivers waited in line.
“As a result of hurricanes Gustav and Ike, oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana have temporarily interrupted some gasoline supplies to the pipelines that serve North Carolina. Therefore, there may be temporary limitations on our gas supply,” Easley said. ”However, wholesale gas prices are up less than 20 cents a gallon over the last few days. Therefore, consumers should not see prices rise substantially more than this rise in the wholesale price. We know that there will be some supply disruption, but we do not yet know the extent. Past events of this kind have lasted only a short time. I urge motorists to reasonably conserve gasoline until the situation is clearer. ”