BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A gas shortage could be merely days away for much of the United States after a pipeline that supplies gasoline for 50 million Americans exploded.
The Colonial Pipeline caught fire Monday afternoon in Shelby County, Ala., after a trackhoe hit the pipeline, causing a spark and an explosion. One member of the pipeline crew was killed while five others were injured.
The pipeline runs from Texas to New Jersey and is a primary source of gas for much of the Southeast and East Coast. When the same pipeline ruptured in September, a panic ensued and many stations ran out of gas, while other stations placed a $10 limit on purchases. It wasn’t uncommon to wait an hour or more to get gas, as Off The Grid News previously reported.
Monday’s incident was yet another reminder of the fragility of America’s infrastructure and way of life; without gas, much of the country would grind to a halt.
Colonial Pipeline Company said Tuesday it expects the pipeline to be down at least for the rest of the week and added that the explosion was related to repairs it was making from the September leak. By volume, it is the largest pipeline in the U.S., transporting more than 105 million gallons of fuel each day.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency Tuesday, lifting regulations on the amount of hours a day truckers can transport gasoline. But multiple states are expected to be affected.
“I would urge motorists not to panic and say, let me fill up the tank now. They need to resist the urge to fill their tank because that’s going to make it that much more difficult for everyone in the days ahead,” Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com told Reuters.
AAA sent out a Tweet stating, “Drivers in the southeast and along the east coast may soon see price increases at the pump.”
Tamra Johnson, a spokeswoman for AAA, told AP, “We can actually start seeing some supply outages in the coming days if they don’t put a plan in place.”
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