‘We dodged a bullet’: Eastern North Carolina not seeing impacts to economic development due to gas shortage

Consumer Watch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — More than half of North Carolina gas stations are still without fuel as Colonial Pipeline returns to normal operations.

Experts say anytime there’s a disruption like the closing of the Colonial Pipeline, it can cause delays in production and shipment. The Greenville ENC Alliance doesn’t expect the shutdown to cause any long-term impacts in Eastern North Carolina.

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“I think we have been very fortunate here in Greenville, where we did not see much of a delay of any type or any facilities having to shut down due to not being able to get their products or their supplies into their facilities,” said Uconda Dunn, Vice President of Business Development at the Greenville ENC Alliance.

It’s been five days since Colonial Pipeline restored operations, and some people still can’t find gas.

“I went on 5th Street. No gas,” said Amelia Pledger, a Greenville driver. “I’ve been on Fire Tower Road. No gas. I’ve been on Railroad Street in Winterville. No gas. I’ve been to HandyMart, and no gas.”

Dunn said that’s because North Carolina is one of the most dependent states on the pipeline.

“We really did see it hit hardest here in our state, as opposed to some of the other states that are on that pipeline,” she said.

Dunn said Eastern North Carolina dodged a bullet. If the shutdown had lasted more than a few days, we could’ve seen severe impacts.

“We didn’t go through anything like the food shortages or trucks being able to get into grocery stores or trucks coming into our Walmarts, our Targets, our local restaurants,” she said. “We didn’t really impact the citizens too much other than vying for trying to find some gas somewhere around town or waiting in long lines.”

Dunn said one of the only effects Eastern North Carolina has seen is delayed shipments of construction equipment.

“We look at the housing market, which is growing here in Greenville and we want to make sure that all of the products for our builders are able to get in in time,” said Dunn. “It was a rough 24 to 72 hours of truck traffic not being able to access gas.”

The Colonial Pipeline is back up and running as of last Wednesday. Now, it’s a just a matter of when trucks can deliver fuel to local gas stations.

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