Ouch! It hurts to get gouged
I was one of the ones who did not panic when all the media said there would be no gas. My car had some gas, so why get all in a tizzy? People of a certain age have been through this “no gas” thing before.
Last month, Colonial Pipeline had a really big spill in Alabama. It was probably some kind of mechanical failure or human error, not terrorism. The terrorists were too busy bombing stuff in New York and New Jersey, stabbing people in the Minnesota mall (who goes to a mall these days anyway?) and looting the Walmart in Charlotte.
When the gasoline pipeline in Alabama was disrupted, naturally, there was no gasoline in Laurens, South Carolina. Shows how interconnected the world has become, I guess.
Everybody scurried to the gas station to get their gas. The place where I get gas, Ingles in Laurens, kept their gas at 1.85 per gallon, and sold out in a flash. Then, closed. Lots of other places ran out of gas and closed their pumps. It went on for a couple of days.
Well, after driving all over heck and half of Georgia to cover stuff Sept. 17, I needed gas when I drove to work Sept. 19. Five places in Laurens still didn’t have any gas. Ingles was getting a truck, but I couldn’t tell how long it would take to pump it, truck to gas pumps, and I couldn’t wait around.
I have one of those 2000-era cars that when the gas gauge gets to a quarter tank, watch out. The next time you crank the car, it’s on empty. That yellow light comes on and there’s a dingy-dingy sound.
So driving from Laurens to Clinton with an eighth of a tank was tricky - and probably not advisable. But, again, Laurens had no gas. The first place I drove by in Clinton - no gas.
The second place had gas. It cost me $2.39 per gallon. I bought it and went to work. Worked all day then drove out to the interstate to maybe take a picture. A station there had gas for $2.25 per gallon. Another station had gas for $2.19 per gallon. As I drove home I looked at gas stations - EVERYBODY had gas, and the most prevalent price was $2.19 per gallon.
Let’s recap - 9 a.m. Sept. 19, nobody has gas, the only gas costs $2.39 per gallon. 5 p.m. Sept. 19, everybody has gas, the gas costs $2.19 per gallon. In a county, hundreds of miles from where the gas pipeline was disrupted, probably not by terrorists.
This is why I feel gouged. There ought to be a law.
I bought gas for $2.39 per gallon because I thought I needed it. Then after working eight hours, I realized I could have bought gas for $2.19 per gallon.
I’m not sure we ever anymore will get back to gas for $1.85 per gallon. All because of a pipeline break and, in the ultimate irony, it is the same pipeline company that had a break that polluted the Reedy River in Laurens County.
On Sept. 17, Laurens County dedicated a park that was paid for by pipeline spill money from - you guess it - Colonial Pipeline Company.
That was way back in the 1990s - so the people in Shelby, Alabama, have that to look forward to. Twenty years from now, Colonial Pipeline will pay the State of Alabama $6 million. The state will spend it on everything but the river that was polluted, then - when there’s a tiny pot of money left over - the county that Shelby is in will get a park.
The river will heal itself, just like the Reedy did. That red, angry-looking gougey place on my rear end won’t heal for years and years.
(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Contact him at 833-1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His commentaries appear on MyClintonNews.com.)