Why The Space Coast Was Protected From The Pipeline Shutdown
Melbourne, Fla.—During the recent shutdown at the Colonial Pipeline in May, Floridians did not have to worry a lot about major gas shortages happening in our state. Although some supply issue were reported, they were mostly attributed to panic-buying— the reason is because Florida doesn’t get its gasoline from the pipeline, Colonial being the country’s largest.
The Colonial Pipeline carries gasoline and diesel from refineries in Texas, supplying states with fuel across the southeastern United States and up the eastern seaboard to the New York harbor. But, most of Florida’s fuel is delivered from Gulf Coast refineries via waterborne vessels, and for us in the Space Coast, Port Canaveral is among the Florida that regularly receive petroleum supplies.
In an effort to ease supply concerns, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a temporary "hours of service" exemption that applied to tanker trucks transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products. This exemption is something commonly seen after a hurricane or other natural disaster, and was applied to Florida and 17 other states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey which are in the direct path of the pipeline.
A shortage of tank truck drivers, dating back to the earliest days of the pandemic, when roads were far emptier and drivers weren't demanding so much gas, is now putting a strain on those still behind the wheel. The FMCSA issued a temporary HOS exemption in response to the crisis. This direct assistance ended when the driver or vehicle was used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provided services that were not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the affected states, or when the motor carrier dispatched a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.
When it ended, the motor carrier and driver were once again subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399; however, a driver was able to return empty to the carrier’s terminal or normal reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. In addition, the exemption states, when a driver was moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break was required when the total time a driver operated conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equaled 14 hours.
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Contact one of our local commercial/truck insurance agents to find out what options are available for your trucking and transportation business in the Palm Bay area, and help you start saving on the protections needed to keep it always afloat. Melbourne Truck Insurance has the products and underwriting experience that meet the insurance needs of your business.
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Hector is a licensed insurance agent with vast experience as a Transportation Specialist.
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