FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The outbreak of the Colonial Pipeline in Alabama has caused a fuel shortage across the south and an increase in fuel prices.
According to an AAA report, in South Carolina there was an average price increase of nearly 4 cents from Monday to Tuesday, up nearly 18 cents from one week ago.
The Shell station off Interstate 95 in Florence County is one gas station that sees a lot of heavy traffic being near the interstate. Owner Jeff Lee said he received an email from his distributor that said to expect periodic outages until the issue with Colonial Pipeline is resolved.
"The crunch has caused a problem for other dealers and my fuel distributor, he has to take care of everybody," Lee said. "I still have some fuel, so I wasn't in an emergency. But we do have it planned for tomorrow if all goes well."
Lee added that he did need to raise his gas prices by 10 cents to make up for a potential missed fuel shipment.
"I already had my fuel scheduled for Monday and did receive Mondays delivery, and I wanted another one Tuesday with the reported outages but I could not get fuel today."
Shell customer Steve Smith said he was on his way to North Carolina and thought it best to top off with diesel before crossing the state line. His shoe-selling business relies on having a vehicle with a full tank of gas.
"It shuts us down if we don't have diesel," he said. "You got to be on the road to go sell shoes."
Though gas was not entirely gone, Smith explained he heard multiple stories from people driving around before finding a gas station that has the fuel they need.
"I had someone in here yesterday stop three places on the way down and they couldn't get fuel and wound up here and said, 'Man, I didn't know if was going to make it to this exit,'" Lee said.
Across Florence County, one BP station on Palmetto Street near Five Points had a sing posted on each pump that read "$20 maximum only," and only had regular unleaded available.
The BP on Palmetto and Jefferson streets had a bag over every single pump and was completely shut down. The Kangaroo station on Irby Street also only had regular unleaded for sale and a sign apologizing and explaining the fuel shortage.
We have all three gasoline grades and our diesel," Lee said. "We have a solid supply right now and I expect to reload again tomorrow. As long as I get that load we will be in good shape. I don't think it's a long-term thing, I think it's a flash. I certainly hope so."
The Colonial Pipeline Company said they expect the main gas line to restart on Wednesday morning. Other states affected in addition to South Carolina were North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.