Gas pump outage in Southern Colorado not due to lack of fuel supply

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COLORADO SPRINGS (KRDO) -- It's not a lack of fuel that has led to gas pump outages across Southern Colorado. Instead, it's a culmination of pipeline maintenance and a gas truck driver shortage, according to AAA Colorado.

Experts are asking drivers not to panic if they pull up to a gas station without available fuel.

"There is never any reason to panic when it comes to gas," Skyler McKinley, Regional Director of Public Affairs for AAA, told KRDO. "In any other year it's no problem, a pipeline comes offline we just spin up additional trucks, we deliver by truck, everything is all good at the pump."

Magellan Midstream Partners conducted maintenance and testing on its pipeline last week, which required the pipeline from Aurora to Fountain to be shut off, according to a spokesperson for the company. The impacted area of the pipeline was turned back on Saturday afternoon. A spokesperson for Magellan says it adequate supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel to meet the needs of customers in the region and that all operations at its pipeline are back to normal.

"Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the truck driver shortage cause therein, sometimes these pipelines come offline and we can't build up the infrastructure the same way we would. Meaning, we can't instantaneously solve the ripple effect caused by a pipeline shutdown. But we can solve it, it just takes a couple of days longer." McKinley explained.

While there are delays in getting gas to stations in Southern Colorado, McKinley stresses there is not a fuel supply shortage. He predicts Colorado and other states will experience similar issues.

"We're going to see this happen sporadically across the country, it's not unique to Colorado," McKinley explained. "It's this trucker shortage is the heart of it because that's really our backup infrastructure when our pipe infrastructure isn't working exactly as it was designed to," McKinley said.

AAA Colorado says there is "plenty of gas" flowing to Colorado, and the organization is asking drivers to not panic buy. McKinley said panic-buying is the only way our area would face a true gasoline shortage at this time. AAA Colorado does expect pump outages to continue in Southern Colorado through the week.

"There will be some hiccups, there will be some frustrations but there will not be chaos as long as you know people are working to solve these problems," McKinley said. "You should only be buying gas if you need gas, you shouldn't be buying more gas than you need."