NC Gas Shortages Leave People Panicked

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While electoral politics dominate the national discussion, the most important issue to the people of Asheville, N.C., is when they can get the gas they need.

The gas shortage in Asheville is now among the worst in the nation, according to AAA, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

It's been that way for days -- two weeks, in fact -- and more and more gas stations are going dry, leaving motorists stranded.

"Most folks out of this area are unaware of the extent of what is going on here with the gas shortage," Carol Crymble told CBNNews.com.

"I personally saw a tanker going to a station and was fourth in line. We received six gallons of gas at $4.59 a gallon, after waiting one and a half hours," she said. "There are many stories of folks pushing cars, tourists stranded, businesses severely effected. It's not a good place for anyone to be right now."

Crymble said Asheville's mayor has been pleading for help from state leaders, but no help has come yet.

The City of Asheville has been keeping its citizens updated on their Web site.

"At this time the City of Asheville is estimating that it will take seven to 10 days for fuel production and distribution to get back to normal and positively impact the area," the Web site states.

"The city is proactively monitoring the situation and will post updates when received. The city encourages citizens to stay calm, conserve fuel where possible, carpool, and use public transportation."

Concerned citizens can only hope fuel will come soon.

"The Governor had stated that we should be getting some relief this weekend, but it may go up to another 10 days," Crymble said.

Tommy Almond, Gaston County Emergency Management Director, says that's the same thing he's heard, day after day.

"Everyday you keep hearing that 7-10 days and everyday it gets another 7-10 days," he said. "My understanding (is) the pipeline isn't up and running 100 percent."

Gastonia is less than two hours away from Asheville.

"I know they've been talking about gas shortages in Atlanta, but ... Ashville is very difficult. Western North Carolina you cannot get gas," Crymble said.

"We had tried to go to Greenville, S.C.," Crymble told CBNNews.com. "They also didn't have gas because so many people are leaving North Carolina just trying to get gas and they're taking up all the gas from traveler's rest areas in South Carolina."

Asheville City Schools are now encouraging distract staff to stay home on Monday, September 29, in order to conserve fuel. And non-essential City of Asheville facilities will be shut down on Friday and Monday.

"At no point will police, fire and rescue, sanitation, and transit services be interrupted," the city Web site states.

Meanwhile, the lines to gas stations are backed up onto the interstates and there have been reports of people loosing control of their tempers.

The situation is so bad, police have had to patrol gas stations across North Carolina. In Charlotte, N.C., officers arrested a man who apparently cut in line, angering other customers and causing fights between patrons.

Sources: CBN News, ABC News, The Associated Press

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