Storm causes rush on gas pumps

Local service stations are rationing gas — and some may run out by this afternoon — as Hurricane Ike shuts down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The BP station in Columbiana is asking customers to buy just 10 gallons of gas at a time.

“This request will allow us to provide gasoline for all of our valued customers during this time of limited supply in the Southeastern U.S.,” read a note attached to pumps.

The Chevron station in Columbiana wasn’t rationing gas, but manger Myra Howell said she might run out Friday afternoon.

“We could definitely run out by 3:30 or 4:00 this afternoon,” said Howell.

Howell said she ordered gas this morning, but her supplier couldn’t guarantee when it would arrive.

“I’m not sure when I can get it,” said Howell. “They told me that they didn’t know when they could bring it. That’s all the knowledge that we have right now.”

Howell said most local stations are already out of diesel fuel.

Gas was selling at Chevron during lunch at $3.66 per gallon, the same as Thursday. However, Howell said that price would go up due to rising oil prices.

Howell said her suppliers are now charging $4.40 per gallon; the gas is her pumps Friday only cost $3.56 a gallon.