RICHMOND, Va. -- Hours after the Colonial Pipeline announced they were restarting operations Wednesday, Morgan Dean, Spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic said the development was promising news, but Virginians weren't out of the woods yet.
As of Wednesday evening, more than half of Virginia's gas stations were without gasoline, according to a GasBuddy spokesperson in a Wednesday evening tweet.
"Yesterday was bad, today was even worse," said Dean.
Dean expected, even following the pipeline restart, it would take several days to get everything running back up to speed, and several days of recovery after that.
"This is not going to be an instantaneous thing. It's not like flipping a switch, it's going to be a process to get started back up," said Dean. "I think it's going to take several days to refill a lot of these stations that have outages but also be on top of what we're already probably regularly scheduled deliveries."
In the meantime, drivers like Matthew Dane were feeling the impact of the shortages Wednesday evening.
"I really thought that after the toilet paper fiasco we would’ve learned our lesson," said Dane.
Just after 7 p.m., Dane pulled up to the Glen Allen Wawa on W. Broad St.
"I literally was driving down Staples Mill, we tried a small gas station. I was like, 'Wawa will definitely have gas.' Drove over here. Nope," Dane said.
At the Wawa, he was met with caution tape which lined multiple pumps. A store official said they had completely run out of gas two hours prior and only had diesel fuel.
"I work in D.C., so I commute 90 miles a day and I can’t fill my truck up," Dane said. "Frustration's probably a light term to how I feel right now."
Just a few miles away, another D.C. commuter, pulled up to a nearby 7/11, where 'out of gas' signs were taped to the pumps.
"I’ve been trying to get gas since Fredericksburg, and it’s been a bit of a challenge," said David W.
Luckily for David, he was able to go inside and pay for Premium.
Dean said while people wait for a return to normalcy, they can conserve gas by removing bulky items from their vehicles, minimize the use of air conditioning, and, if you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model.
"I think people are going to see some issues out there for quite a few days. How long will that last after they're up to full operation? We'll have to wait and see," said Dean. "But we're all in this together. Like we've been saying all along, don't panic buy, wait until you're at a quarter of a tank and then fill up. There will be gas there. There's plenty of gas out there. We just had some problems recently with distributing it to all the places."