AAA warns drivers not to panic buy gasoline

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray has suspended certain restrictions on motor carriers to transport fuel to states impacted by the pipeline shutdown. Meanwhile, long lines of drivers have been at gas stations as people rush to fill up.

This morning we talked to a fuel distributor who said the only reason there’s anything resembling a fuel shortage in our area because people are buying more gas than they normally would.

That’s similar to what AAA has seen in our area. They say states like Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama have had some sporadic shortages. But we should be fine, unless people buy more than they need.

“Even though states like Kentucky that aren’t directly impacted, we end up kind of being in directly impacted because we have people filling up when it’s not necessary. Filling gas cans,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins with AAA.

Gas stations owners have told us they’ve seen that bump.

“We actually seen it yesterday. And we were seeing more people getting gas and they were having cans and they were filling up many cans. We’re not used to seeing that every day,” said Joe Samaan with Airport Market.

Samaan’s family owns Airport Market in Powell County. He said his distributors are starting to see an impact from all the extra sales.

“I think I’ll run out today if I can’t get any. I ordered a day early just trying for future reference. And I don’t think I’m gonna have enough for today,” Samaan said.

The people at Estepp Energy in Lexington said there’s plenty of gas in the supply line, especially for Kentucky. The issue is this unexpected need and a shortage of drivers.

We asked if people were buying the amount that they normally do, would they be in any danger of running out?

“No, if everyone bought the same amount we’ll be completely fine. It will be a regular basis. But that’s where the problem comes in. You’re selling more than usual and it’s not just me, it’s everyone around the eastern side of the United States,” Samaan said.

Analysts say even the places that do run out, should be fine in couple of days.

“This is short term. That’s another thing I’m trying to remind people. While they’re in a panic mode that this is a short term issue,” Weaver Hawkins said.

“There was a toilet paper shortage, there was a gas shortage. There’s a worker shortage but no one’s hoarding applications,” Samaan said.

AAA said they did anticipate prices going up some in the lead up to Memorial Day weekend. They said they anticipate a lot of people hitting the road for that holiday.

AAA says some of the shortage has been caused by drivers from West Virginia and Tennessee coming to Kentucky to buy large amounts of gas.

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