Gas station chains ask for limit on gas purchases

SANFORD, N.C. (AP) - Hurricane Ike is on a path straight toward the nation's biggest complex of refineries and petrochemical plants, and that's raising worries about gasoline supplies.

One convenience store chain is asking customers in 11 states to limit purchases to 10 gallons. The Pantry doesn't have any supply problems yet, but it says it's trying "to head off any panic buying." A spokeswoman says the limit is voluntary and customers have been receptive.

The Pantry owns 1,600 stores, mostly in the Southeast.

Emergency officials in North Carolina say people lined up at stations last night after rumors spread of supply problems. They say there was no shortage, though some stations did run out of fuel.

Gasoline prices spiked in many areas yesterday, with prices pushing back above $4 a gallon in some locations.

Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil are among the companies that have stopped refinery operations on the Texas coast.