The Colonial Pipeline Company in Alabama discovered a break in a major pipeline on Sept. 9, and gas stations across the Southeast are starting to feel the effects of it. Various stations in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas are facing shortages of gas, closed stations, and inflated prices.
Since Sept. 9, between 250,000 and 338,000 gallons of gasoline have spilled out of a pipeline near Helena, Alabama. The U.S. Transportation Department ordered that Colonial Pipeline Co. must conduct testing and analysis as to why the spill might have occurred in the first place. The gasoline that leaked from the ruptured pipe has been contained, and there was little to no damage to the surrounding wildlife. Colonial Pipeline has announced via social media that they are working towards building a bypass line, and it is expected to be up sometime later this week. The company has begun shipping “significant volumes” on the second of the two main lines to slow the impact of the rupture in the other line.
In North Carolina, multiple stations have run out of gas, and prices are slowly beginning to rise. Four Sheetz locations in High Point, Greensboro, Fuquay-Varina, and Apex have closed down due to a lack of fuel, and two of those locations have no fuel except diesel fuel. One woman reportedly went to ten different stations in the cities of Raleigh and Durham, finally finding gas at the Exxon on Capitol Boulevard and Calvary Drive in north Raleigh. That same station, which was rationing to customers ten dollars’ worth of gas to every customer, ran out of gas by noon on Monday.
Governor Pat McCrory activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate with the counties regarding fuel needs and has signed executive orders to waive restrictions on trucks delivering fuel and outlawing price gouging.
"We are taking steps to protect consumers and ensure that fuel is continuing to flow into the state," He said in a public statement. "To help ensure adequate fuel supplies, I have instructed state agencies to consider options to limit fuel use, including curtailing non-essential travel for state employees."
Gas prices are slowly starting to rise, boosting prices as much as thirty cents a gallon in the Southeast. North Carolina has a law against gouging prices in times of emergency and is not the only state to put an order in effect stopping price gouging. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina have both issued executive orders to prevent price gouging.
Even if the bypass gas line is finished in the next week, it will still take Colonial Pipeline Co. several days to have the gasoline supply back to normal in the Southeast.