April 21, 2006
Consumers have been dealing with rising gas prices for months, but now there is a new problem: a shortage of gas. Some stations are running on empty.
'No gas' signs have been the scene all across the Northeast as well as the Commonwealth. Many stations are seeing shortages because of a switch in fuel type, a process that takes some time to complete.
"In order to do that, they are literally having to bring the tanks dry, and then clean the tanks and then bring in the new product," said Gas Distributor Steve Leisten.
This time of year, refineries switch over to a cleaner burning fuel using ethanol. That addition will only drive already high prices even higher.
But ethanol is not the only reason for these high gas prices. Experts say instability around the world, especially in Iran, is causing fear in the market.
"Iran has been extraordinarily belligerent. They act as if they are not afraid of military action being brought to them," said Bill O'Grady from A.G. Edwards Oil.
"It's just gone up so fast. I don't feel like there was any warning about it," said Charlottesville driver Maggie Brown.
With an average price of $2.81 per gallon, Charlottesville is a little below the national average of $2.85. However, that is no consolation for Maggie Brown and others who say they are getting hit hard.
"It was about $0.60 higher than the last time that I had to fill up. So it was a little on the high side," said Shad Wimer.
"It's getting pretty hard just to even get to work and pay for the gas and still pay rent. It's a little ridiculous," said Brown.
As of right now, AAA says that no Charlottesville gas stations have reported outages. However, they also say if a driver encounters a station without gas, try another. The outages are temporary and just because one station does not have gas, another might.