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Hurricane Florence means tighter gas supply, price spikes at Carolina pumps

See aerial footage of the Hurricane Florence evacuation

Evacuations for Hurricane Florence are underway in South Carolina as some highway lanes are reversed to increase the flow of traffic away from Charleston and the SC coast.
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Evacuations for Hurricane Florence are underway in South Carolina as some highway lanes are reversed to increase the flow of traffic away from Charleston and the SC coast.

Gas supplies are expected to tighten in the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence comes closer.

“Gas stations in several parts of the Carolinas are already experiencing shortages,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas spokesperson, Tuesday in a prepared statement. “A storm like this causes an increase in demand, primarily due to panic buying. We are experiencing high volumes of tank-topping along the coasts and surrounding areas. As far as prices go, we will see a dramatic spike at the pump, but we expect it to be brief.”

Though lane reversals have been opened on highway I-26, traffic is building up in the Columbia, SC area as many people evacuate from areas likely to be affected by Hurricane Florence.

The average price per gallon as of Tuesday in South Carolina was $2.58. In Rock Hill, Tuesday’s average was $2.56 a gallon.

In North Carolina, the average was $2.66 a gallon. The national average as of Tuesday was $2.84 a gallon.

How much fuel supplies are affected will depend on how severe Florence is when it impacts the Carolinas, according to AAA.

“If power is lost, and roads are closed, fuel deliveries will not resume until power is restored,” Wright said in the statement.

Price gouging laws are in effect.

“We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging and other commodities as defined by the statute,” S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement over the weekend. “By our law, that’s a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.”

Since Sunday, gas prices have remained stable in the Carolinas, according to AAA. There are no refineries in Florence’s path.

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