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Back to 1973 -- and fuel shortages?
Officials say shortages and lines like these should be a short-term irritation

LOUISBURG -- There was no fear that school buses would be stranded on the side of the road or that emergency medical transports would cease, but Franklin County officials and staff were keeping an eye on fuel gauges this week.

A pipeline leak in Alabama earlier this month has meant the supply of gasoline to the Southeast and East Coast has trickled, drying up fuel supplies at local gas stations -- leaving motorists in long lines and stations without fuel in their pumps.

Earlier this week, Franklinton Police Chief John Green Jr. said local stations are holding out supplies for officers. Louisburg Police Chief Rick Lassiter said vehicles have been filled and they were good for the week.

Bunn Police Joe King said they buy gas from commercial businesses and they've seen lines at the pump, too, but "so far, we have been able to get what we need."

Youngsville Police Chief Daren Kirts said his officers are keeping a keen eye on the problem.

"We have one town tank that [was expected to be empty before press time]," Kirts said earlier this week. "So, yes, [we're having issues]."

The problem hasn't been so dire for emergency medical staffs -- ambulances run on diesel fuel.

"There is not a shortage [of diesel] because it comes out of a different line," County Emergency Services Director Jeff Lewis said early this week.

"... But regular gas is in very short supply," he said, noting that he's met with county management to determine how to best manage the situation.

"We have not implemented our fuel shortage plan," County Manager Angela Harris said during the county Board of Commissioners' meeting on Monday. "But we are keeping a close eye on it. We do have a backup plan for all of our public safety vehicles."

Harris outlined some of the conservation measures available to the county, if need be, such as shortening the work week, have employees work from home or encourage carpooling.

"Right now, we're encouraging our departments to be conservative," Harris said.

"I can't say this won't completely affect us," Lewis said. "We'll do the best we can.

"But, we do have vehicles and it takes fuel to run them."

Franklin County Schools spokesman Patrick Glace said school buses run on diesel fuel and its supply is not in jeopardy.

And other gasoline vehicles are in good shape with fuel available for at least a week, he said.


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