I heard last Friday about the recent gas line spill in Alabama. A newscaster said there might be gas shortages in our area of central N.C.
Alabama state workers discovered the leak Sept. 9 when they noticed a strong gasoline odor and sheen on a man-made retention pond, along with dead vegetation.
Internet sources say that Colonial Pipeline acknowledged that since the spill was spotted, between 252,000 gallons and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from its pipeline near Helena, Alabama.
Since 2006, the company has reported 178 spills and other incidents that released a combined 193,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and caused $39 million in property damage. Most were caused by problems with materials, welding or some other equipment failure, according to federal accident records reviewed by The Associated Press. The spill reduced fuel supplies in at least five states – Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Though I heard about the spill on Friday, I didn’t rush to gas up. My wife’s car was full of petro. My vehicle registered around one-half tank of go-juice.
I failed to think about getting gas on Saturday or Sunday. It crossed my mind on Sunday night. I was hearing more about shortages.
On Monday after lunch and before visiting Gold’s Gym, I stopped by Quality Mart, “our” gas station that sits within sight of Gold’s Gym in Southern Pines.
I saw cars sitting at each of eight pumps – about two cars at each pump. I pulled near the first pump, which is closest to the station office, but had to wait while lady in front of me filled her car’s tank.
I cut my engine and waited as the lady, who appeared to be over 60 and wearing a hearing aid, moseyed toward the pump. She produced a credit card, inserted it in the credit card (CC) slot on the pump, and quickly withdrew the card. (The CC box asks customers to withdraw cards quickly.) She seemed to be taking her time. I saw her punch one of two choices: credit or debit. Then she entered her zip code to get an approval on her credit card. Next, she selected from high test, medium, or regular for gas. She pumped, and when through, hit a button and received a receipt for her gas. She entered her vehicle, fastened up, and drove away.
“At last,” I thought.
I cranked and moved to the pump. The high-test and medium-grade gas selections had labels taped above them. Those labels told me there was no gas in either of those pumps. The “regular gas” selection was still available. I followed the same procedure the lady in front of me had because I, too, pay for gas with a credit card. I filled up: 10.309 gallons, $2.199 per gallon, total sale $22.67.
I wanted to kick myself for waiting till Monday to get gas.
“Why did I wait?” I asked myself. “That was cutting it close.”
The next day, my wife drove by that gas station and saw a sign saying “Closed.”