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Panic buying leads to long lines and shortages at many gas pumps in Charlottesville area

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -Panic buying is causing long lines and gas shortages in and around Charlottesville.

Some people are saying they’ve waited up to 20 minutes just to fill up their tanks.

“I was at a quarter of a tank and I’ve got some errands to run and I started to panic,” Agnes Porterfield said.

Panic at the pump. That’s what is driving a gasoline shortage across the East Coast as people rush to fill their tanks before they’re stuck on E.

”I’ve been searching all over Charlottesville for it, I was out on 29 and everything out there is closed, no gas out there. I happened to come this way just by chance and found a line,” Porterfield said.

The manager of the Exxon station in the Fry’s Springs neighborhood of Charlottesville says it ran out of premium and mid-grade, but still had regular.

One customer says she’s not planning any trips except to the office. “I was almost on E and I have a job, so I needed gas,” Brianna Lumpkin said.

Many people are arriving to stations and being greeted with signs noting “sorry, pump out of order.”

“At first I didn’t really believe that it was that dire or that crazy and then this morning my roommate told me that he couldn’t get gas anywhere. I was driving all around town and finally found this gas station on the corner and decided to hop in line and top off my tank,” Jake Johnson said.

Johnson is a University of Virginia architecture grad student who says he’s hopeful this will be his last 20 minute wait for gas for a while. “Hopefully it just takes a few days to recoup everything. Overall I’m pretty hopeful it will get back to normal fairly soon,” he said.

If you are planning on heading to a station make sure to plan ahead. If you’re lucky enough to find a place with gas, you’ll likely have to wait.

If you see price gouging at gas stations, the state wants you to report it. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday to help the commonwealth prepare for potential supply shortages. This also allows state authorities to crack down on price gouging of gas and fuel. If you suspect price gouging, call consumer protection at 1-800-552-9963.

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