Linda Moyd pumped gas into her red GMC Acadia while chatting with her brother-in-law at Stop N Go on Lady’s Island on Monday.
She had slipped away from work to fill up after a family member called to tell her about a possible supply shortage.
“I had a half a tank,” she said. “But I’ve got to fill my baby up.”
The station on Sams Point Road still had gas, and many gas stations throughout Beaufort County reported no issues Monday. But some pumps were closed.
As news spread of a pipeline spill in Alabama that affected the supply of gasoline throughout the Southeast, some Beaufort County drivers hustled to fill up.
Colonial Pipeline Co. must address issues in a faulty pipeline before fuel flows again, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. Between 252,000 and 336,000 gallons leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Ala., since the spill was first discovered Sept. 9.
The company has begun building a temporary pipeline to bypass the leak, according to an update on its website. Coastal Pipeline said in a statement on its website Monday that gas had been gathered last week from Gulf Coast refiners and that fuel had been delivered or was on the way to terminals in affected areas, including South Carolina.
Walterboro-based King Petroluem, which operates a Shell station on Ribaut Road in Beaufort and locations in Walterboro, normally gets gas in North Augusta but is having to drive to Jacksonville, Fla., for more fuel, owner Steve Wimberley said Monday. Wimberley’s Walterboro locations ran out of fuel over the weekend.
A truck contracted by the company stayed in Charleston overnight recently to try to get Shell fuel but returned to its terminal in North Augusta with none. Wimberley wasn’t sure when the issues would be resolved.
“The shopping public wants to know why their gas is costing more; it’s because companies are having to drive further to get it,” said Wimberley, who said his freight costs have doubled.
Parker’s, which has locations throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties, does not anticipate any fuel outages, director of operations Jeff Bush said. The company has had to get fuel from as far as four hours away, and supply costs have risen about 30 cents per gallon in recent weeks.
He said the company is doing all it can to avoid passing that cost to customers and that he hopes the situation begins settling by the end of the month.
“It just depends on how fast they get that pipeline up,” Bush said.
Some Beaufort County gas stations seemed to have no issues Monday, while others closed pumps.
The Shell station on Sea Island Parkway near Beaufort High School ran out Sunday night, store clerk Manuela Green said. A small shipment of gas expected Sunday night never arrived, she said.
“There’s no telling, really, when we’re going to get gas,” Green said.
A nearby Circle K had yellow plastic covering the pumps. A manager there declined comment.
A Citgo on Sea Island Parkway near Publix had the pumps and entrance cordoned off. A contractor was parked at the store, and the closure was related to work on the register system, an employee said.
People filled the available pumps elsewhere.
Another Shell on Sea Island Parkway just before St. Helena Island was packed at lunchtime. Multiple stations in Beaufort and Parker’s stores in Port Royal, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island reported no supply issues.
At the Stop N Go on Sams Point Road, Lady’s Island resident Matthew Holmes jammed 22 gallons in his black Suburban. He planned to return with his Chevrolet Silverado and also fill the pickup.
Beaufort resident Randy Waldorf topped off his Mazda SUV at Citgo on Ribaut Road. He had called his daughter to advise her to do the same Thursday morning.
“She said she was already aware and had already topped off all the tanks,” Waldorf said.