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Harvey’s Effects on the Gasoline Network

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast and the Houston, Texas area this past week, and the impact of the devastation and destruction on the oil and gasoline industry has been brutal. Because of flooding and low supplies, refineries in the area are now shut down and cannot provide gasoline to the rest of the country. According to the article, 3.6 million barrels per day are lost because of the damage of the hurricane. Two of the major pipelines in the gasoline network across the United States are now shut down or running at a limited rate, which has caused a sharp increase in gas prices along the Gulf Coast and the Midwest.

The gasoline network in this case relates to graph theory examples discussed in class, where each refinery is a node and the pipelines are the edges. The two major pipelines are two edges that are crucial to prevent the graph to separate and become components. In this case, because the pipelines are at risk, less oil can be transported to other areas of the US and drives prices up to meet supply. This article shows how the impact of outside forces, such as natural disasters, can impact networks and important connections between nodes. While it is difficult to predict when such disasters can occur, alternative routes and measures should be put into place when constructing pipelines such as this one.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-harvey-gasoline-idUSKCN1BA0EU

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