How the Colonial Pipeline shutdown could impact you at the pump in the Tri-Cities


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Filling up a gas tank this time of year is typically more expensive but with the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, drivers in Tennessee can expect anywhere from a three to seven cent hike within the next week according to AAA.

“There’s always that possibility that gas will get too high to do anything but go to work and maybe the grocery store and then if you get higher than that then it’s going to get worse,” said Lisa Hartsook as she was getting gas in Johnson City on Monday. “It’s a surprise but I guess I’ll have to deal with it and travel less.”

This comes as a busy travel season is anticipated.

“It’s horrible. I think I work hard for my money and I don’t want to give it all to the gas company,” said Ginger Stitcher.

AAA says drivers can also expect a change in supply locally.

“We have ample supply in the United States. This isn’t an indicator of any sort of supply shortage however, in certain areas because Tennessee is serviced by that pipeline, we could see some local outages,” said Megan Cooper, a spokesperson for AAA.

But Cooper says not to panic buy gasoline.

“The more that people begin to fill up unnecessarily or fill up extra containers of gasoline that they may not even use in the short-term, that just makes the problem worse for everyone,” said Cooper.

When the pipeline reopens, it could take several days for supply to get back to normal, especially with summer travel on the way.

“This is kind of a double whammy in regards to gas supply availability with that increase in demand as well as those increasing gas prices,” Cooper said. “Even when that pipeline is restarted- for us in Tennessee, it still could take several days for us to receive that product. So, the longer that it’s offline, the longer that it will likely take to recoup to get that gasoline supply back up where it was before the pipeline went offline.”

Even with higher prices and the potential for low supply, some say they will deal with what comes.

“I put this in my motorcycle, my lawnmowers, anything I got, I run this gas in it so, no, I don’t worry about it, as long as it don’t go over $10 a gallon. Then I’ll start crying,” said Ronnie Miller as he was filling up his truck. “If I run out, I run out. I’ll sit at home.”

The owner of Zeke’s on Bristol Highway didn’t want to speak on camera said he was already having trouble ordering gas and is worried that he might not be able to get any if the pipeline isn’t opened back up soon.

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