National Consumer News

Gas shortages could strike East Coast after pipeline leak


Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A large gas pipeline link in Alabama could lead to rising gas prices and gas shortages on the East Coast over the coming week.

Colonial Pipeline workers in Helena, Alabama, first detected a leak on Sept. 9. The broken pipeline has spilled more than 250,000 gallons of gasoline, according to The Associated Press. The cause of the leak has not been determined, and full service will not be restored until next week at the earliest, according to CNN Money.

Gas prices haven’t increased much yet, but that could change.

“Nothing propels prices like a shortage – or rumors of one. After Hurricane Katrina’s hammering of the Gulf Coast, pipelines stopped functioning and gasoline prices soared,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, which specializes in fuel information, in a statement to the AJC.

Analysts said gas prices could increase as much as 15 cents per gallon in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Southern states will bear the brunt of any gas price increases or gas shortages, and Georgia and Alabama have declared states of emergency. Northeastern states could also face disruption in gas supply as Colonial has implemented alternative delivery options, such as transporting gas by road and by ship until the pipeline is fully repaired.

“You’re going to see some places without gasoline,” he said. “It’s like a mini-hurricane,” Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service told CNN Money.

Colonial, based in Atlanta, operates approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline from Houston to New York City.


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