Commissioner asks public to refrain from panic fuel buying

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson encourages the public across Mississippi to refrain from “panic buying” fuel due to the halted operations of the Colonial Pipeline. Colonial Pipeline expects to restore operations by the end of this week.

“In the meantime,” Commissioner Gipson suggests, “the best things we can do are: 1) limit unnecessary travel; and 2) purchase fuel only as needed.”

“I want to encourage the public across the state to purchase the fuel they need, but not over buy or panic purchase fuel. Mississippi does not face a gas shortage due to the pipeline disruption, but panic buying could exhaust, and in some cases has already exhausted some local station supplies. The Department’s Regulatory Services Bureau is closely monitoring this situation,” said Commissioner Gipson.

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Commissioner Gipson continued, “The East Coast and landlocked states without refineries may see disruptions. You’ll see it on the news, I’m sure. But the Colonial Pipeline supplies less than 30 percent of the fuel in Mississippi.  Our river terminals at Vicksburg, Greenville and Aberdeen are continuing to receive an abundant supply of product – increased, even, because of the delay in shipping on the pipeline.  Our land terminals are continuing to fill orders. The Plantation Pipeline is increasing supply and the Pascagoula Chevron Refinery is operating without disruption.”

The Plantation Pipeline, an additional pipeline running through the state, is working to accommodate added supply on its pipeline. The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, one of the largest refining operations in the country located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is unaffected due to the outage of the Colonial Pipeline.  The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery is continuing to supply its customer network along the U.S. East Coast and is managing fuel supply chain disruptions caused by the outage of the Colonial Pipeline.

Due to additional labor shortage pressure in the fuel transportation industry, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a waiver allowing for longer service hours by motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in affected states, including Mississippi.

“I recommend Mississippians limit travel as possible, but if traveling for work or pleasure this week to be mindful of their fuel needs. You should call ahead to the chamber of commerce or local tourism office at your destination to inquire about local fuel supplies. Unfortunately, gas prices have been on the rise, and we expect this will further contribute to price increases at the pump. However, we anticipate any local price increases felt by consumers will not be the result of lack of supply, but rather are related to additional shipping costs incurred with picking up product in markets outside of the routine contract area due to the disruption,” said Commissioner Gipson.

Commissioner Gipson concluded, “In summary, Mississippians should travel as necessary and purchase only the fuel they need. ‘Panic buying’ is counterproductive, and there is no need to panic.”