Major Pipeline shuts down due to Hurricane Harvey

Gasoline pipeline in Atlanta temporarily suspends operations due to Hurricane Harvey
Harvey feuling rise in gas prices

04 September, 2017

The news immediately sent gasoline prices across the country so a two-year high, Reuters reported Wednesday night. Colonial, which carries fuel from Gulf Coast refineries to the East Coast, indicated Wednesday many smaller lines branching off from its main artery will shut in addition to its two main Lines 1 and 2.

According to reports, however, the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies almost 40 percent of the South's gasoline, said it may be able to resume operations by Sunday.

Harvey's disruption of the petroleum industry has driven gasoline futures prices up 16 per cent over the past week and prices at the pump are rising too, particularly in the South. Colonial's pipeline, which stretches from Houston to Linden, New Jersey, near New York Harbor, is capable of transporting about 3 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel and other fuels to southeast and mid-Atlantic markets.

The pipeline has been limited due to the effects of Harvey.

Of the 26 refineries that connect to the Colonial system, 13 are located between Houston and Lake Charles.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced a State of Emergency on Thursday to prevent a gas shortage in the state, but experts with AAA told FOX8 that's not likely to happen. The line's closure is expected to put a crimp on energy production and ultimately increase gas prices. He said in a worst case scenario the Colonial Pipeline could shut down.

Johnson County Sheriff Adam King said the sheriff's office has received calls sharing concerns about price gouging at area gas stations.

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The reduction in fuel supplies has forced the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies fuel from refineries near the Gulf of Mexico to the U.S. Northeast, to reduce supplies.

Average retail gasoline prices have risen to $2.449 per gallon nationwide, up 4.5 cents a gallon from a day earlier and 10.1 cents from a week ago, AAA data showed.

Ingram said he would not be surprised to see gas dip back below the $2-per-gallon mark this fall.

On average, gas prices in the entire state of North Carolina have spiked by about 20 cents since last week.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday expanded fuel waivers that allow winter-grade gasoline, normally not allowed to be used until mid-September, to be released to the market now to help ease shortages caused by massive refinery shutdowns along the Gulf Coast. In all of SC, on average prices have spiked about 22 cents since last week. Six refineries have begun the process of assessing damage and restarting, which may take several days.

"The shut downs do not indicate a shortage of gasoline supplies in the Gulf Coast region or across the country", added Townsend. According to IHS Markit, the city is "faring the best" among the cities on the Texas coast that were badly hit, with its four major refineries set to resume operations this week.

In response, President Donald Trump is releasing half a million barrels of oil from the USA reserve to keep gas prices in check.

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