Some gas stations around South Carolina have begun rationing gasoline, enforcing $25 and $50 limits on fuel purchases as the Colonial Pipeline shutdown continues to affect fuel supplies in the state.
In the Lowcountry and parts of eastern Georgia, the gas station chain Parker’s has instituted a $50 limit on fuel purchases. A gas station just outside of the Myrtle Beach city limits has a $25 limit for gas selling at $3 per gallon, limiting drivers to barely eight gallons.
Several gas stations in Columbia have instituted purchase limits as well, residents have reported on social media.
The purchase limits come the average price of gasoline in the U.S. has hit $3 per gallon for the first time since 2014, according to Gasbuddy, a firm that tracks gas prices around the country.
“This is a milestone not seen since 2014 when David Letterman still hosted Late Night, Pharell’s meme-worthy hat was introduced to the world, and Kim and Kanye got hitched,” Gasbuddy said in a statement Tuesday.
The country has been on track to hit $3 per gallon for quite a while.
“While this is not a milestone anyone wants to celebrate, it’s a sign that things are slowly returning to normal,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gasbuddy, said in a statement. “In this case, rising gas prices are a sign Americans are getting back out into the world — attending baseball games, going to concerts, taking a road trip — basically staying anywhere but at home. This summer may see some blockbuster demand for fuel as well, as Americans find it very challenging to travel internationally, leading many to stay in the confines of U.S. borders, boosting some weeks to potentially record gasoline demand.”
However, this spike in gas prices should be temporary, Gasbuddy reports, and is unlikely to break any records. Prices should eventually settle down to the upper $2 and lower $3 range this summer, the gas price tracking company said.
Here are some important fuel tips to keep in mind if you find yourself rushing to the pumps this week.
How to store gasoline
Gasoline should be stored only in approved fuel containers. An approved fuel container is one that is completely sealed and child resistant, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The commission put it simply in 2008, when the current fuel container regulations went into effect.
“Children and gasoline don’t mix,” the commission said in a press release.
If the container is not completely sealed, gasoline can evaporate and anyone near it is at risk of death or injury if the volatile vapors ignite, according to the commission. Gasoline vapor can also cause lung damage and ingesting it can result in asphyxiation after vomiting the fuel.
Examples of bad containers include:
Do not pour fuel anywhere near a flame. Do not smoke anywhere near gasoline or while pouring or pumping gas or any other fuel. Fuels are highly combustible. Big flame = bad time.
“We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly,” the commission tweeted Wednesday. They take risks that can have deadly consequences. If you know someone who is thinking about bringing a container not meant for fuel to get gas, please let them know it’s dangerous.”
Where should you put fuel after putting in it its proper container? Just as you shouldn’t pour it anywhere near something that could cause it to ignite, you also shouldn’t store it near something that start a fire. Here are tips from Exxon Mobil and the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Store gasoline at room temperature, in a well-ventilated area, away from potential heat sources such as the sun, a hot water heater, a space heater or a furnace.
Store gasoline in a detached shed or garage — at least 50 feet away from ignition sources, such as pilot lights. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources.
Never store gasoline or other fuel inside the house, in the basement, or near a fuel-burning appliance, open flames, stoves, heaters, electric mowers, or any other sources of ignition.
Be sure to check with your local authorities for any additional regulations regarding fuel storage
Never carry gasoline in the trunk of the car. Escaping vapors can easily ignite.
Keep gasoline, kerosene and other fuels out of the reach of children. Never permit children to play with matches or fuel.