The pipeline incident is interesting. Not the hack or the recovery but how the media and public behaved.
It seems that there wasn't too much of a problem for the first few days. When the media called it a "shortage" and other descriptive words, the panic started. In my area we saw most stations run dry and price increases of about 20 cents. The rural stations that would normally have 1-2 customers suddenly had 1-2 cars at each pump. It's a rural area and every mom and pop with a pickup truck, beater car, motorhome and boat were filling up. And these folks all have extra containers for lawnmowers, generators, pressure washers and garden tillers.
Two stations, next to each other, shut off the pumps at 9:30 last night. One told me that they wanted to have gas in the morning because that's when they have a lot of customers filling up and buying stuff in the store. They make much more profit on breakfast, snacks, ice, smokes and drinks than they make on gas.
About the suppliers - the pipeline supplies tank farms. Two of these farms were my customers when I was working for the power company. The tank farms have numerous above ground tanks containing the different fuel grades, ethanol, and other additives. When a truck arrives the driver puts a series of codes in the computer and the terminal fills the truck with the prescribed mix. That is where the ethanol is added (talk about a scam). Many of the brands have different additives and that is where that "magic stuff" is added.
I talked to one trucker yesterday and he said that the farm had another 2-3 days of fuel. Apparently that farm can store 4-5 days of fuel. The trucker said that the problem was the panic buying. The truckers have a regular schedule they follow to service the various stations. Many of the stations wanted to accelerate the delivery schedule but there just aren't extra trucks and truck drivers available. They were working a couple extra hours a day to speed things up, and that they would work extra days to catch up. He said that once the pipeline restarted the panic would stop and most drivers would have full tanks.
Most people won't need gas for a few days or a week+. He speculated that the stations would get refueled before most people needed gas and things would be back to normal. Those impacted the most are travelers, fisherman filling boats (common in my area), people heading out for a motorhome trip, delivery drivers that use commercial stations, and folks that drive a lot for work like lawn care, contractors and similar folks.
There is a huge Poker Run boat event in Charleston this weekend and those boats hold 200-400 gallons. People were complaining about them filling up, while they waited in line in their F350's, with their cans and plastic bags. (5) Charleston Harbor Poker Run | Facebook
Apparently everyone has their "need" and anyone else's need is less important.