Major Pipeline shuts down due to Hurricane Harvey

The price of a gallon of gasoline has been on the rise in Greater Williamsburg since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana's oil operations

The company said fuel lines between Houston and Hebert, Texas remain down due to the storm, but were expected to return to service Sunday.

The company, which has been postponing the restart dates for some of its transportation systems closed due to Hurricane Harvey, also said the line would be ready to move gasoline on Tuesday. It also has 15 storage locations to serve customers, and connects to more than 260 terminals. The Colonial shutdown may cause more of a ripple effect and spark higher price increases in some areas, DeHaan said.

The average price of regular in Texas today is $2.25, up four cents from yesterday and 11 cents higher than before Harvey hit. It supplies 75 percent of metro Atlanta's gasoline.

In Colorado, the average gas price early Thursday was $2.42, up about 8 cents in the past week, according to travel group AAA's daily survey.

But drivers don't need to panic just yet. During midday trading on Thursday, gasoline futures for September were up almost 12 percent.

"It's one thing to not have refiners", said Dan McTeague, an analyst at GasBuddy.com, a company which tracks retail prices and availability. The Explorer Pipeline system, which transports fuel from Houston to Chicago, isn't running because there's not enough being produced in Houston to fill the pipes, said Dolin Argo, vice president of operations and business development. But gasoline futures continue to surge, made worse by the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. Diesel fuel rose less than two cents, to $2.56 a gallon. Others charged well over $3, and one downtown Shell station charged $3.97 for a regular gallon of gas.

Gas prices spiking in Tennessee; analysts point to Hurricane Harvey
The closure of key refineries and some of the pipeline's own resources by Hurricane Harvey facilitated the partial closure. Others charged well over $3, and one downtown Shell station charged $3.97 for a regular gallon of gas.

"With no refineries between the Gulf coast and Pennsylvania, the south-east is largely dependent on pipelines from the Gulf coast for their fuel, with Colonial being the largest", Jason Bordoff, the director of Columbia University's Centre on Global Energy Policy, told the FT.

Across Marietta on Thursday afternoon, motorists at the pump were feeling Harvey's effects in their pocketbooks.

"Once Colonial personnel can safely access these facilities, we will evaluate and provide an estimate of the time necessary to ensure our pipe, pumps, tanks and related infrastructure are safe to resume operations between Houston and Lake Charles", the statement said.

At least two major pipelines - one that ships gasoline across the southern United States and up to NY, and another that flows north to Chicago - have been slowed or stopped because of flooding and damage. "It should be pointed out that normally, in a natural disaster situation, most retailers and wholesalers will take a pay cut to keep their prices from going up too much".

But refiners have not reported the type of major flood damage that kept fuel plants down for months following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "I passed one gas station that's $2.44 in Cary, so this one (on South Saunders Street) is the cheapest I've seen", said Ken Bond as he was filling up at $2.31.

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