Gas prices expected to spike after pipe leak in Alabama

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A pipe leak in Alabama is expected to spike gas prices on the East Coast of the United States, and possibly cause some gas shortages.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst, said prices could rise anywhere between 5 to 20 cents per gallon.

"Some stations may run out," DeHaan warned.

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2016 Lexus CT

43/40 MPG

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

40/44 MPG

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2016 Ford Fusion

44/41 MPG 

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2016 Volkswagon Jetta

42/48

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2016 Chevrolet Hybrid Malibu

47/46 MPG

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2016 Toyota Prius

54/50 MPG

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2016 Toyota Mirai

66/66 MPG

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2016 Tesla Model S

102/105 MPG

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2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

126/105 MPG

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The leak is not particularly dangerous -- estimated at 6,000 barrels of gasoline and is no threat to the public, according to press releases from Colonial Pipeline Co., the operator of the impacted pipeline.

But The Wall Street Journal reports, the leak has prompted Colonial's main gasoline shipping route to temporarily close; Colonial delivers approximately 40 percent of the gas consumed along the I-95 corridor, from Maine to Florida.

[READ: 4 Reasons Why Oil Won't Rise Over the Short Term]

To help offset projected supply shortages, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a brief waiver Wednesday on Clean Air Act requirements. The waiver covered 13 counties in Georgia and five counties in Tennessee "to minimize or prevent disruption of an adequate supply of fuel to consumers."

Additionally, the governors of Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina issued emergency declarations Thursday lifting rules regulating how many drivers who are carrying fuel can work.

RELATED: Barrels of crude oil spilled in pipeline incidents

The leak began Sept. 9 in Helena, Alabama. The first states projected to be affected by shortages are all close to the leak -- Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is $2.18 as of Friday, something President Obama noted while campaigning on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. During earlier parts of his presidency, gas prices were significantly higher.

"And gas is $2 a gallon!" Obama said Wednesday. "Thanks Obama."

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