Drivers in the Lowcountry could feel effects of pipeline explosion

Drivers in the Lowcountry could feel effects of pipeline explosion
Charleston has the cheapest gas in the 48 contiguous states according to a recent study. (Source: Live 5)

SOUTH CAROLINA (WCSC) - After the deadly pipeline explosion in Alabama, those living in the Lowcountry could soon be feeling some effects at the gas pump.

The accident happened when a dirt-moving track hoe hit the pipeline, ignited gasoline and sparked a blast Monday, killing one worker and injuring five others, Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline said.

On Tuesday night, the vital pipeline that supplies gasoline to millions of people across the Southeast was still shut down.

The explosion happened a few miles from where the Colonial pipeline sprung a leak and spilled 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline in September. After the leak, the company used one of Colonial's two main lines to move gasoline as it made repairs, but it still led to days of dry pumps and higher gas prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas while repairs were made.

"If September's pipeline leak was any indication of what we're going to see you know I can tell you know it doesn't look good. It looks like we'll see prices go up. How far they'll go up or how long they'll stay that we don't know," Spokesperson for AAA Tiffany Wright said.

She said drivers could see prices go up as early as Wednesday morning.

"It gets hard to tell but don't be surprised if you wake up in the morning and the gas station you go to is anywhere from ten to fifteen cents higher. That would not be out of the ordinary for something like this," Wright said.

She also said drivers can do their part by not panicking and heading to the pump, because that can lead to more shortages.

"What we suggest is that everybody consume gas the way they normally would. Don't change your spending habits at the pump. That will help keep the shortages down. We can only do so much when we have something like this happen and there is going to be distribution problems. Some gas stations are going to suffer more than others but we can help lessen the blow if we don't go panic at the pumps and over indulge in gasoline because we're nervous," Wright said.

She also said that she is hopeful that gas prices will be back to normal in time for Thanksgiving travel.

"At a time when families are planning holiday vacations and we don't know how long this will last. Hopefully Colonial will get the pump figured out and contingency plan in place for distribution but it really comes at a time when folks are planning holiday travel so hopefully that won't be impacted and hopefully we'll see low gas prices by Thanksgiving," Wright said.

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