Currently, there is a disruption in a major gasoline pipeline in Alabama. Click here for more details. Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 40% of the gasoline to the east coast, developed a major leak that was detected on September 9th. Approximately 300,000 gallons of gasoline had leaked from the pipeline, but thankfully none of it made it to a nearby water source. Colonial has two main lines that supply petroleum up the east coast. (see map) One for gasoline and one for distillates - which include diesel, kerosene and heating oil. Colonial has started shipping gasoline along the distillate pipeline in order to help with the supply disruption. They are also in the process of building a bypass line to move their gasoline supply around the area with the leak. Until then, they will ship gasoline in the distillate lines as needed. No diesel disruption is expected at the time of this writing.
However, this could’ve been a serious challenge for the trucking industry if the distillate line were damaged instead of the gasoline line. Trucking professionals should always keep informed of any news that could affect our industry. A pipeline disruption definitely fits that criteria. People naturally panic when they think there will be fuel shortages and that always causes a run on the gas pumps….. And that always causes gas stations to run out unnecessarily. If no one panicked, there would probably be no problem. But that’ll never happen.
I spent twelve years of my trucking career pulling a gasoline tanker. I transported gasoline during a lot of challenging times.
- New Year’s Eve 1999, Y2K
- Hurricane Katrina
- Hurricane Rita
- Numerous other hurricanes
During each of those challenging time periods, people panicked and made the situation much worse than it needed to be. Gas stations ran out of fuel. The outages usually only lasted a few days. However, with everyone in panic mode, you definitely want to steer clear of an affected area if you can. If you are in the affected area, don't drive around unnecessarily and make sure you have enough fuel to get where you're going. If you're traveling into an area with major supply disruption, bring your own fuel with you. Don't add to the problem.