Charlotte's Chris Coto hoped the full tank of premium gasoline his Mercedes had earlier this week would keep him from having to refuel again amid a gas crunch.
By Friday, though, Coto's tank was nearly empty. He couldn't find premium gas in Charlotte, so he crossed the state line and pumped about $79 worth of fuel -- 19 gallons -- into his Mercedes.
"Hopefully, that will last until this ends," he said.
Coto was one of the lucky ones.
For motorists who drive luxury cars that require premium gas, high-grade fuel often has been harder to find than regular gas in York County and most of the Charlotte area.
Chalk that up to the law of supply and demand, said Tom Crosby, vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas.
"Premium gas is needed less at this particular time so regular gas is being made in greater qualities," he said. "It takes more oil to make premium gas. When you're having a shortage of fuel, refineries will produce more regular gas than premium."
But there's hope for Coto and other motorists.
"We expect gas availability to begin increasing this weekend," Crosby said. "It should get better and better."
Production slowdowns at the refineries and panicking customers are still the main factors behind the shortage, he said.
Meanwhile, those driving luxury-type cars have at least one option, Crosby said. Use regular gas with an octane booster, he said.
Octane boosters are available at automotive stores.
"The boost will help you protect your engine from any potential damage that could occur from using regular gas," Crosby said.