Gas shortage impacts emergency personnel in the East

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A sweeping gas shortage across the Southeast has drivers anxious.

Some gas stations have run out of gas, and have taken down prices and put bags on the pumps.

Experts say the shortage should be temporary, but some people are waiting in long lines and stocking up.

A break in the Colonial Pipeline in Alabama has caused a leak and forced workers to shut down that part of the pipeline.

From Georgia to Tennessee and North Carolina, there isn't enough fuel for distributors.

Truck driver Kelvin McCallister said "My job relates to fuel. I'm a truck driver. If they run out of gas, what are they going to do about fuel?"

AAA says the pipeline leak will likely cause gas prices to increase.

Right now, the national average sits at $2.20 per gallon.

Drivers in North Carolina were feeling the effects of the gas shortage as early as Friday, from long waits to high pump prices.

Sunday, there were huge lines at local gas stations that haven't run out yet. Some were so long, drivers waited an hour to fill up.

Many drivers said they had big concerns about heading into the work week.

"People got to get to work, got to get kids to school and activities and trying to figure out how to make those things happen. I mean you could bike ride, but that's a little bit of a haul," said Terence Pinder.

In a video Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas posted to Facebook, he says he spoke with the Governor's Office and they're now bringing in trucks from across the country and typically used in the winter to move fuel into the area. He says those trucks should come through Monday and they expect things to return to normal by Tuesday afternoon.

Many drivers said they're worried about stations running out of gas.

"I'm unemployed, looking for a job, so I have to have gas to go out and looking. So this, it was a panic for me. I said I need gas, I got to look and find my job, so it was a little overwhelming," said Sheila Barnes.

WNCT checked in to see how this impacts first responders and government leaders in Greenville and Pitt County. They say they've been stocking up but don't have any issues so far. Priority will go to emergency vehicles if they do run into any problems. Pitt county leaders are assessing all non-essential travel. The Pitt County Sheriff's Office is following a contingency plan to assure all emergency vehicles are ready to go.

In the meantime, stay on top of the latest gas prices in the East using the 9 On Your Side Pump Patrol.