CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's a shocking feeling when the price of a gallon of gas is close to beating out the price of lunch. Drivers in California are paying almost $6.
“California is feeling the same effects of their problems that we felt seven years ago," said Tom Crosby with AAA Carolinas.
Crosby said supply was hurt and drivers felt the pain in Charlotte after Hurricane Katrina.
"We couldn't get product. People stood in lines, gas stations closed -- it was very hectic," Crosby said.
Crosby said the reason area drivers are not seeing problems like that now is because of the source. The pipelines that bring oil to Charlotte come from the Gulf Coast. Completely different pipelines feed California, and the refineries are regional as well.
The problems on the West Coast are because of problems with the system there, including a refinery fire, a power failure and a pipeline that had to be shut down.
Based on what we saw during Katrina, Crosby said it could take some time for things to calm back down.
Colonial Pipeline Company said it's made changes since Katrina. After the hurricane, the company had to lease generators to restart pumps that move oil through the pipeline. Before Gustav hit, it had bought its own and was able to share them with refineries.