CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Lowcountry should not experience the kind of shortages and price hikes the Upstate of South Carolina is feeling from a gas pipeline crisis, a petroleum analyst says.
While the average price of gasoline in South Carolina has jumped about 15 cents to $2.05, gas prices in the Charleston area still range closer to $1.88, according to GasBuddy.
A Goose Creek gas station has gas prices at $1.83 per gallon as of 8:25 a.m. Monday. The highest per-gallon price in the Tri-County area as of approximately 1 p.m. Monday was $2.05, according to GasBuddy.
"Where the gasoline can be supplied by barge, it won't be as big of a problem," Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Lakoski said.
A number of stations have reported gas shortages in the Upstate of South Carolina and into Tennessee following the shutdown of Colonial Pipelines Line 1 on Sept. 9. A mine inspector in Alabama stumbled on a large spill from the line, which extends from Texas to New Jersey and serves as the only major source of gasoline deliveries for much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Lakoski said it is not clear how long the impact will be felt, but the best estimate is that the supply interruption should be resolved by the end of the week. It could still take gas prices another week or so to return to normal from there, he said.
As of Sunday, gas prices in South Carolina had risen 13.1 cents in the past week and the average price per gallon of gasoline was $2.03 as compiled from GasBuddy's survey of 3,028 gas outlets across the state.
The national price per gallon rose just 2.7 cents to $2.20.
"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, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
Since the shutdown, now entering its second week, gasoline deliveries have all but halted and inventories at local gasoline racks have quickly been depleting, DeHaan said. Gas price spikes and supply outages have been reported in parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, he said.
Gasoline prices jumped 26 cents in Greenville within the last week with an average price of $2.18. Several gas stations in the Charlotte area were out of gas by Monday.
Gov. Nikki Haley has signed an executive order to increase the number of fuel truck deliveries into South Carolina to minimize any potential impact on motorists, Governer's Office spokesperson Chaney Adams said. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a similar order.
The company has acknowledged that between 252,000 and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Alabama, since the spill was first detected Sept. 9, the AP reports.
It's unclear when the spill started.
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