Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sheetz gas pumps are running dry

Well people on the east coast know what I am talking about when I say Sheetz. No, it’s not some strange southern code word for donning a white hood and robe. In fact it is a convenience store that handles more that just your basic 7-eleven style trash. They actually have a decent selection of goods with normally high quality food made to order. They even have decent pricing on most items.

Currently 25 to 30 of the Altoona, PA based Sheetz stores in the Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia areas are out of or running out of gas. That’s right, out of gas. This is not a protest over high gas prices like some people have stated. This is simply due to the fact that the Petroleum Refineries that supply the Colonial Pipeline from the Gulf Coast had temporarily shut down due to hurricane damage.

Based in Alpharetta, Ga., Colonial Pipeline delivers a daily average of 100 million gallons of gasoline, home heating oil, aviation fuel and other refined petroleum products. According to a press release located on the Colonial Pipeline website the main problem is not with the pipeline itself but rather with the refineries. Hurricane Gustav hit the Louisiana Coast on the 1st of September. During it’s run the power in the greater Louisiana area was knocked off line and subsequently the power needed to run the production from the petroleum refineries in the area was not available. Which brought a halt to petroleum production. Less than two weeks later Ike slammed into the area causing widespread power outages and knocking the refineries off line again. Until the supply issues are straitened out they will be operating the pipeline at a reduced rate. They are currently working with the suppliers and are ready to return to 100% operation once the refinery production is back on line and able to supply normal volumes again.

The Colonial Pipeline has been restarted but at a reduced rate. As a direct result we the drivers of the Southern and Mid Atlantic states can expect gas prices to climb more and more over the next few days. On Monday I put gas in my car at a rate of $3.52 a gallon. I stopped again yesterday and found the best price in my area at $3.79 a gallon. I would also assume that we will see prices at the pump rise another $0.10 to $0.15 a Gallon by the weekend.

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