Tourists Traveling to Florida Should Keep Close Watch of Fuel Concerns

Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press
Courtesy: Chattanooga Times Free Press

Colonial Pipeline, the company that distributes nearly half of the gasoline and oil to major parts of the United States, has announced that it is still days away from fully reopening the main pipeline. Earlier in the week, the company had released information indicating they planned to have operations mostly back up and running by the weekend, but this now seems increasingly unlikely.

Gas Pipeline Days Away From Reopening

While many news outlets are running stories that implicate residents of Florida, the deep south, and Appalachia as being partially to blame for “panic buying,” it would seem that the narrative is beginning to shift. As of Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST, many states and cities were busy declaring states of emergency as gas stations not only were out of fuel, but were not quick to receive new quantities for restock. In Pensacola, Florida, for example, 73% of gas stations were reporting they have no fuel according to Gas Buddy.

Gas Running Low in Parts of Florida

In Atlanta, as well as in other urban areas of Georgia, the story is much the same. North Carolina has potentially been hit the hardest – or earliest depending on your viewpoint – with 71% of Charlotte, NC gas stations no longer able to provide fuel.

Thus far, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia have seen less shortage problems, although those are occurring and are growing.

For this reason, we are encouraging readers and travelers planning to drive to Walt Disney World to be cautious and knowledgeable about the fuel shortage as you make your way to the Sunshine State. It may be wise to map out likely locations where you can find gasoline, as well as note your fuel levels while driving so that you are not stranded on the interstate looking for stations that simply don’t have gasoline. Luckily, the weather in the southeast is not terribly hot at the moment, but you still don’t want to be stranded.

While conditions can change, at this time gas is easier to find west of the Southern Appalachians than east of the mountain range. Likewise, fuel issues do not seem to be as significant if you’re traveling via the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This could absolutely change after publication of this article, however, so please keep informed via the latest updates. An app that we would use for tracking fuel availability is Gas Buddy.

At this time, Disney has not announced any changes in normal operation due to fuel shortages at the resort. Should that change, we will have coverage of the Walt Disney World situation here at Pirates and Princesses. The same is true for other theme parks in the Orlando area, such as Sea World and Universal Orlando.


Update 10:10 PM EST, 5/12/2021
According to Colonial Pipeline, the main pipelines are currently being restored to full function. Some news organizations are reporting that this occurred late Wednesday, while others report it was only a safety check. Whatever the case might be, the following statement was put out on Colonial’s website:

“It will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period.”

Given that the current issues may persist for the next few days, Pirate and Princesses continues to encourage travelers to check the latest information on fuel shortages until services are fully restored to normal.

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