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Will the Colonial Pipeline gas shortages reach Kentucky?

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 12:44 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Colonial Pipeline resumed operations Wednesday afternoon, but not after gasoline was being guzzled up along the east coast following the pipeline’s shutdown earlier in the week.

The Colonial Pipeline supplies 45 percent of gas to the eastern United States. When it shut down, it caused shortages in some areas.

However, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told Kentuckians to stop panic buying gasoline on Wednesday before the pipeline resumed operations; he said no gas shortages are expected in the state.

“We do not expect the pipeline issue, even if it continues, to impact supply in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Our supply is strong; no one needs to make a run for gas.”

A few gas stations’ pumps were out of service in Louisville on Wednesday, including the entire Thorntons station on 1st and Broadway.

Thorntons issued the following statement to WAVE 3 News:

“There is no fuel shortage in the Louisville area. Thorntons has ample supply of fuel for the community and we are working hard to increase our deliveries to keep up with high demand. We regret any temporary inconvenience to our Guests and encourage the community not to panic buy. All of our stores will be receiving deliveries today.”

Despite that, many Kentuckians flocked to fill up anyway and noticed the sky-high prices at the pump.

“Gas prices are ridiculous right now,” Kyle Sleeper, who was getting gas Wednesday afternoon.

Sleeper had heard about the Colonial Pipeline hack but was just looking for the cheapest gas in town. He ended up at Costco.

“I’m not going to pay $3.16 a gallon right now for gas for this monster,” he said, sitting in his pickup truck.

Stacey Rice said she already needed to fill up but was shocked to see the prices and some of the lines.

“I haven’t seen any [gas stations] running out but I was coming up Bardstown Road and every gas station had at least three people deep,” Rice said.

The national gas price average hit $3 per gallon on Wednesday, the highest it’s been since 2014.

The sticker shock reminded some people at the pump of the 1973 oil crisis when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, cut off the American oil supply.

“You could only get gas based on if your license plate was odd or even,” Louisville resident Lowell Dodge recalled. “Monday you could get it, Tuesday you couldn’t get it; Sunday you couldn’t get any gas. It went up to 50 cents a gallon. That was hard when you were making 85 cents an hour.”

According to AAA, the high prices won’t likely last very long. The Colonial Pipeline restarted operations Wednesday afternoon.

However, AAA told WAVE 3 News prices are also higher due to an increase in travel and because summer-blend gasoline is more expensive.

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