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Don't fill up gas tank unless you need to, experts urge. Panic buying or hoarding gas will make things worse.
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Don't fill up gas tank unless you need to, experts urge. Panic buying or hoarding gas will make things worse.

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Gas Lines (copy)

More than 100 vehicles line up for gasoline at Costco on Wendover Avenue in Greensboro on Tuesday.

GREENSBORO — A temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline won't lead to significant gas shortages, experts say. They're more worried about the effect of panic buying on the gas supply.

On Tuesday, a line of cars snaked through the parking lot at the Costco on West Wendover Avenue in Greensboro as people sought to fill up. It was a scene playing out at many gas stations across the state and region.

Motorists rushed to fill up their gas tanks after news that a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline forced it to shut down fuel supply lines along the East Coast.

Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents not to panic buy.

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"I have talked today with federal officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and we have a full court press to get the Colonial Pipeline back up and fully operating quickly," Cooper said Tuesday on social media. "Report price gouging and please don't rush to top off your tanks."

In North Carolina, 8.5% of the state’s nearly 5,400 gas stations reported running out of fuel Tuesday, according to Gasbuddy.com, which tracks supply.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, GasBuddy.com's fuel availability tracker, which is updated through reports by motorists, showed a handful of convenience store fuel outages in Greensboro.

Cooper acknowledged in a news release that North Carolina is among the handful of states expected to be most impacted by the pipeline shutdown. However, he said significant fuel supply shortages are not expected and normal operations are anticipated to restart in the coming days.

The 5,500-mile pipeline runs from Texas to New York with a major operational hub off Interstate 40 in Greensboro. It supplies about 45% of the East Coast's gasoline, including that in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The company announced it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack on Friday and, as a precaution, shut down the pipeline over the weekend. It expects to "substantially" restore operations by the end of the week.

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