On October 31, a massive explosion on the Colonial Pipeline in rural Alabama killed one worker and injured five others while causing major disruptions to energy supplies. The explosion happened in an area that was still being repaired from a leak that had occurred just over a few weeks prior. An excavation truck hit the line and ignited the gasoline inside, causing an explosion and fire that burned for several days.
The pipeline runs from Houston to New Jersey, stopping off along the way to provide gasoline to several southern and east coast states. Gasoline prices spiked after the explosion, jumping up as much as 15% but settling into a price increase of about 5%. Luckily, many governmental entities have imposed various precautionary measures following recent hurricanes like Sandy, Katrina, and Matthew. This includes putting reserves in place and relaxing trucking regulations to allow easier shipping. Ultimately, the delay was not extensive as the pipeline was restarted at 5:45 a.m. central time on Sunday, November 6.
This explosion does not bode well for the future of transporting fossil fuels via pipeline. The explosion lends fuel to groups like those that are seeking to block the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. Several natural gas pipelines have also become controversial, and those are vital to natural gas power plants. Wind turbines and solar panels do not need fuel supplied that way, and with the cost of renewables dropping they seem bound to continue taking market share from fossil fuels. Since renewable power is intermittent, it is often cheaper at certain seasons or at certain times of day, and customers can often negotiate directly with their utility for lower rates. To learn more about your options as a consumer, contact EnergyCare today.