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Limited gas in five southeastern states after major fuel leak in pipeline

Fuel shortage leaves drivers without options.
Photo credit:
fox5atlanta.com

Last week’s rupture of a gas line in Alabama that leaked more than 252,000 gallons of fuel has led to some shortages in Georgia with fears that a more widespread shortage of gas could affect the Southeast.

Associated Press is reporting that some stations in Georgia have little or no gas to supply their customers until a pipeline company can repair the leak. They have been working “around the clock” to get the system working again.

Colonial Pipeline assured customers and outlets that gasoline has either been delivered or is en route to stations in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. 

Those five states are the most affected by the spill and the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered that Pipeline fix the problem.

Colonial Pipeline is based in Alpharetta and has two main lines. They said in a statement on Monday that they are shipping “Significant volumes” of fuel through the second line to counter the damage of the first.

 "We continue to be in regular communication with our customers, who are also working on their own individual contingency plans to minimize supply disruptions. This includes trucking and barging fuel from other markets and refineries," the company said in Monday's statement.

Colonial has confirmed that 252,000 and 336,000 gallons of gasoline were wasted when they leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Alabama since Sept. 9, but they cannot say when the leak actually started.

The company said a new conduit is being built to temporarily bypass one leaking section of its main pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama. Although they have not made an official statement as to when that work-around will be complete.

Prices for gasoline in Georgia have increased by an average of 5 cents in Georgia reports AAA to $2.26 to a little over $2.31. Last week, AAA said the average price was about $2.10.

Customers in Atlanta according to the AP report say that some pumps are completely dry or they had to pay 20 cents more to fill their tanks because some outlets are importing their their fuel from Savannah.

In another report an employee at QuickTrip, a convenience station, said they have been dry since Saturday and they don’t expect to get refueled until Wednesday or Thursday.

Another station in Hiawassee completely turned off their price signs because gas is becoming very scarce.

 "We just blanked out our sign," said an anonymous attendant. "Other places are getting small shipments. We might get ours by Tuesday, but it's still up in the air."

A Shell station in Carrollton only has premium grade to offer drivers.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed an executive order to remove limitations for trucking hours to allow drivers to haul fuel into the state. The order also has a safety clause, saying no motor carrier "shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle."