Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tuscaloosa residents struggle with gas shortages

Lines piled outside of the Chevron gas station Wednesday night on Lurleen Wallace as people gathered from various parts of Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas to fuel up at one of the only open gas stations in the vicinity.

“We stayed open three hours longer,” cashier Dana Swindle said. “It was like an animal house.”

People at the scene said the Chevron gas station was the only station nearby to still be open as of 11 p.m. Wednesday.

“I’m just low on gas,” local resident Napoleon McEwen said. “This is the only place that has gas. I’ve tried everywhere, Tuscaloosa, Northport—no one has it.”

People were forced to travel with little fuel in their tank, said Sherry Montgomery, a resident of  West Blocton.

“It was 20 miles to get to Highway 69,” Montgomery said. “We had to drive the whole way with our light on [empty].”

Swindle said she was working the cash register when the tornado hit Tuscaloosa. Despite all the chaos, Swindle said she had to keep a clear head and perform her job for people in need.

“You get nervous,” Swindle said. “ We don’t want to leave our families, and we want to see how they are doing, but we’ve got to keep a calm.”

For the store workers, the most important part was seeing that the station could help as many people as possible.

“It gives me a good feeling to help these people,” Swindle said. “ I know I’m trying to get someone to get to their family.”

Despite the help the gas station provided, the interior of the store was eventually shut down, denying people from purchasing in-store items, as well as the option of paying for gas with cash.

“It hurts me when we have to close and we have to turn them away because they do not have credit,” Swindle said. “Those people have families too, and I know what they are going through; it kills me to send them away.”

Some people who were low on gas were essentially stranded after they found out that they would not be able to pay for gas without using a card.

“I don’t know what to do,” Tuscaloosa resident Mario Bradley said. “We live in Skyland off of Highway 69. We are just trying to get home.”

Customers later grew angry upon hearing they would not be able to make their necessary purchases. A few people banged on the door of the closed interior store, demanding that they be able to be served.

“I just kind of try to brush it off and be patient,” Swindle said. “I understand why they are upset; these people have been through a lot and I know they just want to see their families.”

The Chevron station expects many customers over the upcoming days as residents look to fill up their tanks wherever possible.

“We are going to be really busy over the next few days,” Swindle said.

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