I live in the Triangle and have seen firsthand the effects of the partial shutdown of the Columbia pipeline as I have driven by many gas stations this week where no fuel was available. An event such as this can be used to remind students where our gasoline comes from and to prompt them to consider the consequences of having to transport fuels over long distances.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) featured the pipeline disruption and provided the map below in its September 21st, Today in Energy feature article (which you can sign up to receive each weekday via email). According to this article “the U.S. Southeast is supplied primarily by pipeline flows from refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast and supplemented by marine shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast and imports.” Seeing this map helped me to understand why this pipeline disruption impacted central North Carolina to a great extent.
There is an online mapping tool available that enable users to create their own maps as they evaluate different energy sources. I used the EIAs U.S. Energy Mapping System to quickly create a similar map that shows petroleum refineries (boxes); petroleum pipelines (dashed lines); and petroleum ports (ships):
Then I added additional map layers to also show oil wells (light brown dots) and oil/gas platforms (dark brown dots) in federal waters so students can also see the distribution of wells and platforms in relation to petroleum refineries.
I would love to hear from teachers who have incorporated this current event into their instruction.