A burst pipeline carrying gasoline has caused a spike in gas prices in Southeastern states, where landscapers’ mowing season has yet to wind down.
A section of Colonial Pipeline’s Line 1 was found to have spilled an estimated 336,000 gallons of fuel in Shelby County, Alabama, on Friday, Sept. 9. Colonial says it shut down the line within 20 minutes of being notified of the leak.
It wasn’t until Tuesday, Sept. 13, that workers could safely access the site due to gasoline vapors, and on Thursday, Sept. 15, workers installed temporary blockages. Colonial Pipeline started working on building a bypass line on Saturday, but has not said when the replacement might be operational.
The pipeline runs from Houston, Texas, to Linden, New Jersey. According to AAA, gas prices in the Southeast and possibly the Mid-Atlantic region will see upward pressure until the supply is restored.
The governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have all declared a state of emergency over the gas situation.
Georgia has suffered the largest weekly price increase at 21 cents, followed by South Carolina and Tennessee, where prices rose 13 cents. Average prices per gallon in North Carolina climbed by 11 cents and Alabama’s increase totaled 7 cents, AAA reports.
Mississippi’s average gas price remained under a dollar at $1.96. Virginia’s gas prices have only gone up 5 cents since the leak.
Higher gasoline prices are only part of the concern in this equation, as spotty shortages could be perceived as more widespread by the public, causing panic buying.
“What had seemed likely to be a short-lived disruption in an already well-supplied market may now cause localized disruptions in some Eastern and Southeastern states,” JBC Energy analysts told USA Today on Friday.
As suppliers try to find other ways to get fuel to service stations, temporary outages are to be expected. Some states have already issued executive orders warning against price-gouging as individuals have noted certain gas stations charging as much as 2.99 for regular grade gas.
As there are currently no real widespread outages, think twice before buying overpriced gasoline. It may be worth it to shop around.