We asked: Do you think pipelines are safe?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year.”

166 people responded to our survey question of the week on Facebook and Twitter combined. Of all respondents, 89 believe pipelines are safe, while 74 believe they are not, and 3 were not sure. This is an astonishingly even split considering that according to pipeline101.org, “a barrel of crude oil or petroleum product shipped by pipeline reaches its destination safely more than 99.999% of the time.”

Despite an impressive safety record, safety can always be improved. Over the past 20 years, there was an average of 40 “serious incidents” annually between crude oil and natural gas pipelines. The leading cause of “serious incidents” was excavation damage, accounting for more than twice as many incidents as any other cause. Aii is working to improve excavation safety laws to drive down incident rates further.


Written by Aii Staff from our Aii Asks series in conjunction with Ask the Expert.


The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization. An innovative think tank, Aii explores the intersection of economics, law, and public policy in the areas of climate, damage prevention, energy, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and transportation.