SC Unaffected as NC Faces Gas Shortage and Price Gouging
Gov. Nikki Haley told the press on Tuesday, September 22 that despite gas shortages and reports of price gouging in North Carolina, South Carolina is currently receiving regular supplies of fuel. She stated that she has spoken with suppliers and they have reported business as usual regarding fuel arriving into the state. The gas shortages have resulted from a pipeline leak in Alabama, which primarily supplies states along the East Coast.
The Governor stated that with a few exceptions of border towns (Lancaster, Fort Mill) running low on gas due to North Carolinians crossing state lines to fuel up, and panicked citizens stocking up, South Carolina has been largely unaffected. “The panic that is setting in is not helping the situation, because that’s causing them to sell gas at a faster pace than they would normally sell it,” Gov. Haley said. “Everybody has gas coming in and fuel as they need it,” she said. “If it’s out, it’s just a delay. It’s just a matter before it comes in.”
North Carolina has not been as fortunate as gas stations have run dry, and more than 400 people have reported incidents of price gouging. The North Carolina price gouging law has been enacted due to the shortage, and identifies price gouging as charging, “a price that is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances.” The law is circumstantial and goes into effect during times of crisis to prevent businesses from taking advantage of desperate consumers in need of essentials like food, water, or fuel. South Carolina has a similar law that is currently in effect. The last time it was enacted was a year ago following the historic flooding throughout the state.
While the average price for regular fuel in Columbia was $2.07 on Tuesday, with some stations as low as $1.81, consumers should anticipate a rise in prices as much as 30 cents per gallon until Colonial Pipeline finishes the bypass, which will permit engineers to continue transporting fuel while making repairs to the pipeline. The Colonial Pipeline runs 5,500 miles and transports over 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, oil for heating, and fuel needed for the military daily between Houston and New York City, the company reports.