Office of Energy Policy
Petroleum Pipelines Coming Back Online

Press Release Date:  Thursday, September 01, 2005  
Contact Information:  Lola Lyle

Frankfort, KY, (Sept. 1, 2005) – Gasoline pipelines that supply the Southeast were back online Thursday, but were not operating at full capacity.  In addition, the Capline, a major crude oil pipeline delivering to many Midwest refineries from the Gulf Coast, was restarted Thursday and was operating at reduced rates after a four-day shutdown.

Colonial Pipeline said it had restored its pipeline to 35 percent of capacity, while Plantation Pipeline was operating at 25 percent.  Colonial also reports that the line was full when it went down, so deliveries were possible within hours - not days - of restart.
Both companies installed electric generators at points along the pipeline where local electrical power is still disrupted from the hurricane.

"We are running at about 25 percent of our average delivery volume," the Plantation Pipeline spokesman said. He added that all terminals and pipelines were unscathed after Hurricane Katrina. "The operating rate of the pipelines will be slowly pushed up when the power supply is restored to other parts of the state." the spokesman said.

"Some refineries will likely be able to restart their operations within the next one to two weeks, while others will likely be down for a more extended period, possibly several months," an Energy Information Administration (EIA) representative said.

According to the EIA, some refineries would take longer to restart since authorities are preventing displaced employees from returning to the most severely affected areas until they are finished with recovery operations and they deem it safe to return.  The agency added that a rapid restoration of normal supply would be the key to a quick restart at the refineries.  The extent of the damages caused by the flooding would also determine how quickly the refineries would restart.

Refiners may find some relief in the government's decision to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), but EIA pointed out that the refiners would have to find an alternative way to bring the crude oil from the SPR to their refineries.

Supply is improving, but while we wait for full recover there are some commonsense measures consumers can take  to lower demand.  Aggressive driving, such as speeding , rapid acceleration and braking, wastes gasoline. It can lower your mileage by 33 percent when driving at highway speeds. 

Observing the speed limit can also help. Gas mileage decreases quickly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional 10 cents per gallon. Using cruise control on the highway helps maintain a constant speed that can help you save gas.

If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, your best bet is to shut off the car. Simply restarting the car uses up less fuel than just letting it sit with the engine on.

Also, take the time to clean out your trunk. The heavier the load in your car, the more gasoline used.

For more gasoline conservation tips, visit the Office of Energy Policy’s Web site at