Pipeline break causes some concern, but no real problems locally

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Gas pump websiteAverage retail gasoline prices in the Greenville area have risen 26.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.18 per gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 452 gas outlets in Greenville. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.20 per gallon , according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. Including the change in gas prices in Greenville during the past week, prices yesterday were 26.2 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 34.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 5.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 9.3 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“While gasoline prices have drifted lower in parts of the country, it’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: one of the largest gasoline pipelines in the country is out of service and a band-aid is not going to fix the problems in the Southeast as a result,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

(Pictured Above – Some local gas stations have experienced delays in gasoline shipments. This photo was taken at the Fast Fuel on West Main Street in Williamston Tuesday.)

“On September 9, a mine inspector in Alabama stumbled upon a large spill from Colonial Pipeline’s large Line 1 pipeline spanning from Texas to New Jersey, the artery and only major source of gasoline deliveries for much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The pipeline was immediately shut down due to ‘integrity issues’.

Since the shut down, which is entering its second week. gasoline deliveries have all but halted and inventories at local gasoline racks have quickly been depleting as panicked motorists fill their tanks, leading to gas price spikes, supply outages and headaches in six primary states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia,” DeHaan said, “though prices in neighboring states and regions may also rise as gasoline supply is diverted.”

“Colonial Pipeline Co. has suggested it is working on a go-around pipeline while it fixes the main pipeline, but there is no easy way to fix the pipeline and immediately restore gasoline deliveries. GasBuddy will keep motorists apprised on the latest developments on its blog and is actively monitoring the situation and may active an emergency fuel availability tool should the situation worsen,” he added. “This is among the largest outages of fuel since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.”

Locally in the Williamston area, some gas stations were running low or out of gas by Friday and Saturday as word got out about a possible shortage. Some people were filling smaller gas containers in addition to their vehicles, adding to the shortage problem. Though there were lines at some stations early Saturday, by Sunday things had calmed down.

In the Greenville area Sunday, most stations appeared to be business as usual without worries of a shortage.

According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on September 19 in Greenville have ranged widely over the last five years: $1.91/g in 2015, $3.05/g in 2014, $3.11/g in 2013, $3.56/g in 2012 and $3.27/g in 2011.

Areas nearby Greenville and their current gas price climate:

Spartanburg- $2.07/g, up 19.3 cents per gallon from last week’s $1.88/g.

Charlotte- $2.20/g, up 17.0 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.03/g.

Asheville- $2.21/g, up 7.8 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.13/g.

For LIVE fuel price averages, visit http://media.gasbuddy.com.