East Coast gas shortages prompting vacation worries

Gas shortages being reported in the region are now leading some to question online whether they’ll get stranded driving to places like the Eastern Shore and Outer Banks for Memorial Day weekend. Shore and regional leaders are not sounding an alarming just yet.

READ MORE: Colonial Pipeline restarts operations, says return to normal service will take 'several days'

AAA predicts over 37 million people will hit the roadways for the holiday vacation, as many people are looking to escape their quarantine locations – and many struggling businesses in the regions beach towns are hoping to receive customers.

Virginia Beach’s Mayor told FOX 5 DC in a statement on Wednesday, he is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel to get through current shortages. 

"Fortunately, Memorial Day is still more than two weeks away and with the level of effort going in to restoring the pipeline, we remain optimistic that people will be able to come to Virginia Beach and enjoy the holidays here," Mayor Robert Dyer’s response read. 

East Coast Gas Shortage: Gas prices in DC, Maryland and Virginia

FOX 5 spoke with to Anne Arundel County-area EMTs on Wednesday, who described the pumps packed the evening before, as people were letting out of work. 

"It was really bad," said Roxi Eller. "It was, no exaggeration," added Ted Synder right after.

"…another car would be right there, at the bumper, so as soon as another one could just take it before anyone else could do anything. It was bad," Eller told FOX 5 with Synder adding right after, "The other thing is patience for people is getting less too because as they’re waiting, if they’re not moving off the pump right away, they’re blowing their horns and blowing and yelling at them."

The two first responders told FOX 5 if what they saw continues, they don’t see anyone going anywhere for Memorial Day weekend.

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Not everyone is experiencing the same in the state. 

FOX 5 was also sent a photo showing someone pumping gas into at least five smaller red gas containers placed in the back space of a smaller or Crossover SUV. The viewer who shared the image tells FOX 5 they snapped it near Crain Highway and Cedarville Road in Waldorf, Maryland. 

On Wednesday, Colonial Pipeline company issued an update that partially read: "Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET. Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal."

Earlier, the OC Hotel-Motel-Association spokesperson told FOX 5 DC they had an meeting with around 60 business owners that morning. Concerns of holiday travel and gas shortages did not come up once, we’re told. 

A Rehoboth Beach, Delaware spokesperson told FOX 5 DC at this point, they have not talked discussed the potential issue with the region’s leaders yet because it is their understanding the issue will be resolved over the next few days.  

Governor Larry Hogan gave Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Greg Slater the authority to take on emergency measures responding to the Colonial Pipeline situation, while also noting no disruptions to BWI Airport. The Maryland governor also noted in a press release the airport and airline partners are working to implement alternative fueling measures.  

Hogan encouraged people not to panic buy, saying the supply chain is working, even it is working slower than normal.  

To save gas, AAA suggests multiple measures, including removing the bulky and heavy items from  your vehicle to lighten the load.  

While talking with customers at the Exxon and Wawa gas stations by Rt. 50 on Wednesday, gas prices rose 10 cents.