Gas stations hurricaneGas stations along the Eastern Seaboard experienced high demand and some sold out of fuel Friday as Hurricane Irene bore down.

In Norfolk, Va., one Exxon station was sold out by noon after hundreds of cars filled up to evacuate the mid-Atlantic city. The windows were boarded up as station attendants readied themselves for the brutal fury of the storm. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in nearby Virginia Beach on Saturday evening, according to The New York Times hurricane tracker.

Late morning Friday, further up the coast in Dover, Del., a gas station worker at Dover Super Soda and Deli answered the phone just to say he was too busy to answer the phone. That was repeated by an employee who answered the phone at the Sunset Service Station in Ocean City, N.J., as people along the Jersey Shore prepared to evacuate.

Moving north along the storm's expected path to Brick, N.J., gas was selling briskly at $3.42 a gallon. Exxon station owner George Dakart said he expected to sell out during the afternoon, and a delivery of fuel was not expected to last through Saturday. Most drivers, he said, were preparing for the storm rather than evacuating. The scarcest items were batteries, he said.

"You cannot find any D batteries in Ocean County!" he said.

On Long Island, where the storm is expected to hit squarely some time Sunday, gas stations were doing brisk business, although there was a carnival-like mood in the air. Sadik Can, the gas station attendant at the Empire Service Station in East Hampton, N.Y., said he had pumped "thousands of tanks" -- at $3.91 a gallon -- but as soon as the storm hit, he was going "to go and party."

He's not alone. The Atlantic Wine & Liquor Store in neighboring Amagansett was doing brisk business Thursday and Friday.

"I don't know what it is about hurricanes, but [people] are stocking up," said owner Paul Tavernier. "Patrón [tequila] is flying off the shelves." He recalls other big storms that hit the island, including the "perfect storm" (on which the book and movie were based) in 1997, which was the only time he shuttered his booze shop. He said he didn't expect to have to evacuate, but "if the eye of the storm hits, we're going to get hammered" referring to the wind and rain, not the tequila and wine.

By the time Irene arrives in Bridgeport, Conn., on Sunday, it will likely have slackened to tropical storm status. A Mobil station we contacted there was not experiencing an uptick in traffic.

Refineries in the storm-affected states along the East Coast were expected to ramp down production as a precautionary measure, said Tom Kloza, editorial director at the Oil Price Information Service. Thursday's small 3% tick upward in wholesale gas prices, he says, is likely due to a combination of factors, including West Coast prices and speculation about the hurricane.

Kloza said he didn't expect the storm to dramatically affect gas prices. "We may be paying a little more next weekend," Kloza said. "But by second half of September, we will see more reasonable prices. It has been expensive year for fuel."

"The thing that is more certain is that hurricanes are demand destroyers," Kloza added. "It is almost certain that see demand destroyed because people won't be driving as much."

Gallery: America's Costliest Hurricanes

1. Hurricane Katrina (2005)2. Hurricane Andrew (1992)3. Hurricane Wilma (2005)4. Hurricane Ike (2008)5. Hurricane Charley (2004)

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evan, "facts" don't count if you make them up. lol

August 28 2011 at 9:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Obama let gas go up 116% since he took office.

August 28 2011 at 2:22 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yenttiaoo2's comment

That can't be the real Obama butt kissing Yetti.

August 28 2011 at 3:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment

gotohell, nobody kisses butt like a looney lib.

August 28 2011 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Natalie Webb


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August 28 2011 at 4:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I can smell the looney libs on this board. There must be at least 12 left in this country.

August 27 2011 at 3:42 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment

No conservatives smell much better than Obama butt kissers.

August 28 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Big oil and this administration can't seem to get it right, other than to increase their profits beyond what is ethical and at the expense of the majority of Americans. Oil isn't expensive or short, we're still NOT building any new refineries and our distribution hasn't improved. Oil is still being traded as a commodity and the only ones getting richer are those who belong to or related to oil trading or the billionaires that support Obama. Who wants 4.00 or higher gas prices, as it helps him sell his green energy policies, but it hasn’t recreated jobs nor will it and it holds down the common man, those of us that are struggling day by day to just get by! Remove oil for the commodity market, build new modern refineries and add pipelines, drill of our own oil, natural gas and resources. Let the free market bring down the cost per gallon and let us all have cheap affordable energy. Stop playing politics, start caring about We The People and get out of the way of the free market. Fine economist that actually have studied something other than Keynesian models and understand greats like Milton Friedman who really understood economics and not politics. The yes men and those that this administration continue to listen too only do so because they are only trying to spin their models to meet what this administration wants us to believe and not the true science with help for the leftwing liber media. It's all politics to promote a weaker America but we can make a better America again with the right leadership.

August 27 2011 at 8:43 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

here we go big storm hit gas prices go up and then after a week they go down 3 cents then problems overseas gas goes up again then after a week they go down again by 2 cents ,,o no here comes a big storm in the gulf gas goes up and up big TIME and then they go down by 1 cent maybe 3 cents ,,we are the foolish people in the world in the usa to let the oil co. do this but the oil co. saids in the UK they pay 8 $ a gal. BUT IN THE UK THEY PAY 5$ STATE TAX ON A GAL. OF GAS IN THE UK this saids we only foolish people

August 27 2011 at 7:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

well this will help bring those gas prices back up to 4 a gallon

August 27 2011 at 7:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

prices literally went up 6 cents while I was pumping gas today ... really ?!?!

August 27 2011 at 2:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Alittle windstorm and the rookies run out and buy everything in sight. They call this the storm of the century!!!! hahahah GIVE ME A BREAK This storm will have 40 mph winds by the time it gets near NJ , NY , NE YOU ALL LOOK FOOLISH HUH

August 27 2011 at 2:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just as long as the local redneck bars don't run dry!

August 27 2011 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply