Gas still available but pipeline closure worries Gulf Coast
(OBA®) – Gas was flowing in most places in Orange Beach before 7 a.m. on May 11, but one of those places was not the iconic Sam’s Stop ‘N’ Shop on Canal Road.
“I can’t get gas at the moment,” co-owner Steve Russo said. “I usually place an order by email and a few hours later I get a confirmation email. I sent an email at 4 a.m. yesterday (May 10) and still haven’t received a confirmation. “
Texas’ recently hacked pipeline network across the Lower South and down the East Coast forced operators to shut it down five days ago. The 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline transports approximately 100 million gallons of fuel from Texas to New Jersey every day.
“I think it’s really related to that,” Russo said. “The refineries here cannot get gas because the pipeline is closed.”
On the Gulf Coast of Alabama, residents were posting photos of long lines for gas and some stations were running out of fuel like Sam’s. On May 11, J&M Tackle, Tom Thumb and Circle K le along Canal Road all had customers filling up at the pumps.
“There are a lot of customers, there is a bit of a wait, but we’re okay for now and we’re looking to move forward,” said Kathy Giannini of J&M Tackle. “We’re not going to panic just yet. At the moment we are in good shape and hope for the best. Gasoline has been ordered but we are like everyone else. We are just waiting to see and we are optimistic. We don’t want to see another toilet paper situation. “
Russo says that even when he starts over, it can take a while because vendors will be faced with high demand almost immediately.
“I’m taking mine out of Pensacola, but when they get more gasoline it will take a while to catch up, so it may take a while,” said Russo. “I’m not too worried. I think once they assess the magnitude of the threat and assess it, we’ll start getting gas. But they will use this excuse to raise the prices.
According to published reports, another supplier to Pensacola, TransMontaigne Partners LP, are violating the EPA that shut down the facility. In North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to “help North Carolina prepare for possible disruptions in the supply of motor vehicle fuel across the state and s’ ensure that motorists can have access to fuel, ”the governor said in a press release.
Several rumors are circulating on social media, including a map that shows parts of southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida shaded in green as an area that is not dependent on the pipeline. A source from the fuel transportation industry who wished to remain anonymous said that a particular rumor was totally untrue. The source also said trucks were in depots awaiting pipeline deliveries and were leaving to make deliveries as soon as fuel was available.
On the government side, a regulation that prohibits tankers from operating at night has been relaxed until the current crisis passes.
Another rumor of a driver shortage is also false, another source in the fuel transportation industry said, also asking to remain anonymous. Tanker drivers face much more in-depth training and checking than regular rig drivers and make a lot more money, according to the source. Although the mainstream trucking industry may need drivers, this source said there are plenty of drivers available for fuel trucks.
Patrick De Haan who calls himself Gas Buddy Guy on Twitter only about 0.43 percent of Alabama stations are fuel-free. Here is a list of station closures in the southeastern states:
- Georgia 3.76% of 6,368 stations
- South Carolina 1.71% of 3,084
- North Carolina 5.42% of 5,372