A section of the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York, has been closed since Sept. 9 after a pipeline burst dumped more than 250,000 gallons of fuel into Alabama’s Shelby County.
The pipeline is a crucial one, which carries gasoline to the eastern United States and provides gasoline for an estimated 50 million people on the East Coast.
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The disruption has driven up gas prices and left service stations without fuel to sell across Georgia – and although Shelby County is about 200 miles away, Athens is not immune.
“Experts from the American Automobile Association and GasBuddy predicted gas prices in the South would increase between 5 and 15 cents. However, in Athens, some gas stations are seeing increases of up to 20 cents,” an article published by the Athens Banner-Herald reads. “I’ve been getting a lot more people calling asking about prices,” said Brian Nicholson, manager of the Kangaroo Express BP station off South Lumpkin Street. Nicholson added that gas prices at his station had hiked 20 cents overnight Saturday.”
GasBuddy showed prices in Athens ranged from $2.09 to $2.59 per gallon — a $2.34 average on Sunday night. In Georgia, gas prices have spiked about 20 cents since Sept. 13 to a $2.30 average. As of Tuesday night, according to Georgiagasprices.com, most stations in Athens were priced at $2.39 a gallon for regular gasoline.
“Although prices have increased locally, the change isn’t as dramatic as drivers in metro Atlanta have experienced. Metro news stations have reported gas stations increasing prices to $3.99 per gallon in Fulton County or $4.59 per gallon in Paulding County. Some stations were out of fuel completely — wrapping fuel pumps with plastic bags and leaving price boards blank,” the article reads. “A lot of people are concerned and curious and have asked a lot of questions, but I haven’t seen anybody actually panicking,” said Henry Hayes, manager of the Oconee Connector QuikTrip. The QuikTrip increased prices to $2.39 per gallon over the weekend and Hayes added the station was out of premium fuel.”
There were no reports as of Tuesday night of Athens gas stations running out of fuel completely.