Gasoline Situation in Phoenix Slowly Returning to Normal
The lines are gone, but the prices remain higher than usual for Phoenix-area drivers as gasoline is once again flowing through a crucial pipeline.
In the last two weeks, the city and surrounding Maricopa County have experienced a gasoline shortage that led to blocks-long lines at the gas pumps, prices as high as $4 a gallon and gas stations closed for lack of product. Trucked-in fuel, temporarily relaxed federal restrictions, and less panic-buying have eased motorists’ plight, and by Sunday evening, a bypass constructed on the ruptured east pipeline had begun diverting 35,000 barrels of gas intended for Tucson to Phoenix.
The crisis was touched off by a corrosion-caused break in the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners pipeline that brings gasoline from El Paso, Texas. The pipeline, which supplies two-thirds of the area’s gasoline, was shut down August 8 for safety concerns. Officials believe the line will reach full capacity within days. Public and state officials have called for anti-price gouging laws and investigations of the pipeline failure and the lack of contingency plans.