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AAA: Relief coming for Virginia drivers with restart of Colonial Pipeline; gas prices up

AAA Gas Prices-5.14.21
AAA Gas Prices-5.14.21(WDBJ)
Published: May. 14, 2021 at 1:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Drivers in the southeast can expect to see fuel flowing at local pumps in coming days, according to AAA.

Late Wednesday, the Colonial Pipeline announced the restart of pipeline operations after a cyber hack. While it will take several days for operations to get back to normal, according to AAA, this will help ease the supply strain seen on the East Coast – especially in southern Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee. These areas are experiencing reduced fuel availability in parts of their markets.

While the Roanoke-Lynchburg area gets most of its fuel from a different pipeline, many local drivers clogged gas stations to assure they had gas until the shortage ends.

Click here for AAA gas price information.

“The restart of the pipeline is very positive news for drivers,” said Morgan Dean, AAA spokesperson. “While impact won’t be seen immediately and drivers in affected areas can expect to see a few more days of limited fuel supply, relief is coming. Station pumps will be full of fuel in several days. This is an especially good update ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.”

Virginia’s gas price average ($2.91) jumped another four cents from Thursday to Friday. It’s up 14 cents since Monday.

From the time the pipeline was taken offline last Friday until Thursday morning, the national gas price average increased eight cents. That pushed the average above $3 a gallon this week – the highest average since October 2014. The national average is likely to continue to see fluctuation in the coming days, according to AAA, and states where prices have spiked will see some relief as the pipeline becomes fully operational.

For drivers traveling through the south and southeast this weekend, AAA offers these tips -

If you are planning to travel this weekend throughout the south/southeast coast:

  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model.
  • Plan ahead – bring groceries and other necessities with you to reduce making trips while you’re at your destination.
  • Fill up before getting to your destination. Use the AAA Mobile app to locate gas stations and call ahead to see if they have fuel.
  • Avoid driving during high-traffic times of day.
  • Pack lightly. Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car and don’t use your roof rack or a special cargo carrier. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than larger models.
  • Don’t travel with a container carrying extra fuel in your car.

If you’re already on the road and will be traveling throughout the south/southeast coast:

  • Use the AAA Mobile app to locate gas stations and call ahead to see if they have fuel.
  • Have a Plan B in case you need to stay longer or can only make it part of the way home (find a stopping point). Use the AAA Mobile app to find hotels along your route and call ahead to check availability.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

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