Gas prices expected to spike after pipe leak in Alabama
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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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.
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.
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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."