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Guns, oil, and desert make Texas famous. So when Hurricane Harvey began to threaten oil refineries like the one that just shut down, people naturally begin to worry a little more. Here’s how Harvey might affect what you pay at the pump, and how to help both yourself and Texas!
While it’s still not time to panic, the Colonial pipeline just shut off. This led the State of Alabama, according to my editor, to recognize a state of emergency so that relief vehicles could be used in a broader capacity. Pipelines make transporting fuel super cheap, so expect gas prices to shoot up quite a bit! In the meantime, service stations and distributors will have to rely on trucks to transport fuel.
Via Colonial: we expect that Line 1, which transports gasoline and is currently operating at reduced rates, will suspend service [Thursday]. Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points west have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations… Colonial is one part of the fuel delivery system, and there are multiple means of supplying the market to mitigate concerns with supply, including other pipelines, trucks, and barges.
It’s not time to panic
According to AAA spokesperson Stephanie Milani, gas prices increase when only a hint of bad weather exists. And despite the recent refinery closure in Port Arthur reducing production to about 80% of the nation’s consumption, America won’t run out of fuel any time soon. AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselan explained to USA Today that our strategic reserves remain at over 230 million barrels of gas alone.
It’s probably time to conserve a little
Price increases or no, you could probably save some money just by changing your driving habits. Rolling up windows while you’re on the highway, consolidating errands, and eating out less will all save gas. Take some cues from “hypermilers,” and reduce the time you’re in first gear or at a high engine RPM. Start coasting to a stop earlier rather than stopping and starting in city traffic. Chances are, you’d just hit another red light, especially given Birmingham’s often-unsynchronized lights!
I don’t, however, recommend “Pulse and Glide,” which will often disrupt traffic around you and can endanger other drivers. Wikipedia understates it best: “There is sometimes a tradeoff between saving fuel and preventing crashes.”
What you can do, right now
- Top up your tank while prices are relatively low – it could be a week or two (or three, but probably not that long) before production returns to normal.
- Give blood. Blood doesn’t keep for a long time, so ensuring that injured victims of Harvey have access to the treatment they need is crucial.
- Donate to the Red Cross – you can send essential items directly through smile.amazon.com. In addition, your regular amazon purchases can send money to the Red Cross by using the smile.amazon.com link instead of amazon.com.
- Don’t want to remember to go to smile.amazon.com instead of the regular site? Install Smile Always for Chrome or Amazon Smile for Firefox.