A leak to a key gasoline pipeline isn’t affecting fuel prices in Missouri…yet.
The damaged section has been closed for more than a week after roughly 250,000 gallons spilled out in rural Alabama. So far, a number of states in the south have experienced dry pumps and price spikes of between ten and twenty cents.
Mike Right with AAA Missouri in St. Louis is confident appropriate steps are being taken to reopen the pipeline quickly. “Everybody is very much aware the criticality of getting this pipeline back in service because a lot of people are going to be adversely impacted by the lack of adequate fuel within their communities.”
The pipeline carries gasoline from the gulf coast to the eastern United States. Right says if it remains shutdown, there’ll be a diversion of fuel from other parts of the country, which could affect delivery into Missouri. “If it goes on for an extended period of time, obviously there’s going to be some diversion of product from other parts of the country to service the needs of the east coast” said Right. “Whether that’s a diversion of gasoline that’s destined for Middle America that’s diverted to the east coast or not, that would have an impact throughout the Midwest.”
Governors across the South issued executive orders last week allowing truckers to stay on the road longer to bring gasoline into the region. Monday, the governor of Georgia issued an order aimed at preventing price gouging.
Colonial Pipeline of Alpharetta, Georgia, which owns and operates the pipeline, issued a statement Monday regarding its efforts alleviate fuel shortages. It said “In an effort to minimize supply disruptions, last week Colonial Pipeline gathered gasoline from Gulf Coast refiners in order to ship supplies on its distillate line to markets throughout the affected region. As a result, following around-the-clock operations to effect this contingency plan, supplies of gasoline have been delivered and/or are in route to terminal locations in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Delivery times to mainline and stubline terminals in these markets vary.”
The pipeline system runs from Houston to Linden, New Jersey. The leak occurred in a rural part of Shelby County in Alabama.