Bags on gas pump

Bags covered the pumps at this Shell gas station in Mount Pleasant after the store closed ahead of Hurricane Florence. A sign on the door said the shop will reopen when it is safe again. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Boarded-up businesses, disassembled billboards and clog-free roads greeted Charleston area residents still in town Wednesday.

At grocery stores, customers snatched up last-minute snacks and canned foods but didn't bother to go down the water aisles at supermarkets still open. They were empty for the most part.

For those trying to fill up, yellow bags on gas pump handles greeted some motorists either because stations were out of gas or the shop had closed ahead of Hurricane Florence.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, nearly 10 percent of the stations throughout Greater Charleston were out of fuel, according to gas price service GasBuddy. That's slightly lower than the number four hours earlier, but about 2 percent higher than Tuesday.

But with some stations out, others running low and some closed, the price of fuel is not expected to skyrocket as it did during Hurricane Harvey last year when it struck the refinery-laden Texas coast.

"Refineries are not going to be hindered by Florence as they were during Harvey," said GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan.

Trader Joe's boarded up

Businesses throughout the Charleston region, such as Trader Joe's in Mount Pleasant, aren't taking any chances with Hurricane Florence. They boarded up and closed ahead of the storm. Warren L. Wise/Staff

The average price per gallon in the Charleston region Wednesday stood at $2.60 a gallon, down a couple of pennies from Tuesday, according to GasBuddy. Motor club AAA Carolinas reported the price about two cents higher. Statewide, the average price held at about $2.59 a gallon. That's up about 3 cents a gallon from this time last year.

Some pump prices could spike because of demand during the storm, but surges are expected to be brief, according to a statement from AAA Carolinas. 

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.