Over recent months, gas prices have been relatively stable, allowing many people to keep their transportation expenses within their household budget. However, a recent pipeline leak in Alabama has caused an upsurge in prices in many areas of the country. If you are among those who experience increased financial pressure when gas prices rise, you may have to consider dipping into savings or car title loans to tide you over until the next payday. Fortunately, many experts feel the price increases won’t stay inflated for very long.
Pipeline Problem in the South
The problem occurred in a pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama, just south of Birmingham, spilling about 330,000 gallons of gas into the environment. The leak was discovered by a mine inspector checking on an old mine in the William R. Ireland Sr. Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area when he smelled a strong odor of gasoline. The leak is expected to reduce the supply of gas for vehicles in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The national of average for, which has stayed around $2.20 per gallon, will probably rise on temporary basis, for at least 10 to 20 days.
Clean-up Efforts Begin To Contain Damage
The Colonial Pipeline Company had difficulty getting to the leak site because of hazardous gases in the area, but they are currently investigating the causes of the leak. They were able to construct a bypass line around the leak site to keep gasoline flowing to the East and Southeastern regions of the country. After Colonial Pipeline has completed their investigation of the leak, the responsibility for determining appropriate clean-up measures will then pass to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
Price Increases Spread to Ohio
The effects of the Colonial Pipeline Company leak appears to have spread into Ohio, which has seen a $.20 per gallon increase in recent weeks. Some experts suggest that OPEC’s recent decision to restrict oil production is also causing a generalized increase in gas prices. Others feel the recent weather problems caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean will affect Gulf oil production and increase prices across the country. However, these increases are not affecting all areas at the current time.
The Public Copes With Higher Costs
Most consumers have been grateful for the lower gas prices this year. From a high of $3.70 the previous year, this year’s gas prices have been a relief, allowing more vacation travel by car and easier weekend trips out of town. But some families are still struggling with the lower incomes that resulted from the recession, so that any increase in energy prices makes a significant dent in the family budget. For these consumers, the use of short-term loans can bridge the gap until the next payday.
The public knows they can expect gas prices to rise and fall for incomprehensible reasons. They have become accustomed to adjusting their driving habits and their budgets to the frequent vagaries of the energy marketplace. Fortunately, a number of financial options are available to help them get through those difficult times.