Panic at the pump

Published 11:03 pm Monday, August 29, 2011

Many gas stations in Suffolk, such as this Shell station on Bridge Road, were overwhelmed this weekend by the onslaught of customers seeking fuel for vehicles and generators.

After people dashed to fill their tanks and get extra fuel for generators before Hurricane Irene hit, gas stations still are trying to recover from the increase of people at the pump.

Many of the stations in Suffolk, including the Citgo on Portsmouth Boulevard and the Kangaroo stations on Wilroy Road and East Washington Street, ran out of gas as a result of people prepping for Hurricane Irene or coping with power outages.

Niya Terrell, manager of the Crown station on Godwin Boulevard, said her location sold out of regular gas on Friday and premium Sunday.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s hurting a lot of people, because now they have to go into town (to get gas),” she said.

Terrell said the store had more customers than usual on Friday, but its business had a huge increase when another station down the street lost power Saturday and was unable to sell any gas.

She said she has been trying to order gas for the station since it ran out, but she hasn’t gotten through yet.

“We’ve been calling, but they’re not answering because of the storm,” Terrell said.

Customers have been patient, she said, but she doesn’t know when the station will be filled again.

The Southern station on North Main Street ran out of gas Sunday afternoon, but manager Dee Spry said the store wasn’t without for long.

The station was back up and running first thing Monday morning when a new shipment came in at 6 a.m.

But she said the usually busy station experienced a similar influx in customers before and after the storm.

“Usually, we have two to three cars deep (waiting to pump), but before the storm, it was four or five cars deep,” she said. “There were cars waiting out in the street.”

Spry said she thinks the station managed to stay open for so long, because it is used to a lot of customers.

“We are a very busy gas station,” she said. “We were very much prepared.”