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Truckers working around the clock to keep fuel flowing in 2-state region

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:09 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Russian hackers have caused turmoil up and down the east coast with their cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline. But petroleum distribution experts say, taking more gas than you need just adds fuel to the fire.

“The biggest concern we have right now is panic buying,” said Michael Fields the executive director at the South Carolina Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association. “I’ve seen some pictures that have been very disheartening of people that are filling gas cans just over and over … when you add that to what we already have with the pipeline disruption...that adds a real problem to what we already have.”

Fields says owners are working around the clock to try and make sure gasoline and diesel are making it to pump.

“We don’t have a fuel problem; we have plenty of fuel,” Fields said. “We just, right now, have a distribution problem. So, that’s what folks need to remember: If you don’t need to fill up, don’t.”

That distribution falls squarely on the shoulders of truck drivers who transport petroleum to the gas stations.

Rick Todd, the President and CEO of the South Carolina Truckers Association says, when you panic buy at the tank, it directly affects those drivers who are already working long hours.

“They’re going to be stretched pretty thin for the next few weeks until they can catch back up and get everything fully stocked,” he said. “So they’re going to be working overtime.”

Todd says truck drivers will always be sure to put safety first and rest when they need to but re-iterates that when motorists panic buy gasoline, it creates a long road ahead for truckers.

“The responsible, and kind of patriotic thing to do is take a breath, and only buy what you really need,” Todd said.

Todd says, right now, the trucking industry is already experiencing the worst driver shortage he’s ever seen. He says this pipeline issue, coupled with the panic buying, just makes the supply-chain problem even worse.

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