How Georgia is trying to prevent a surge in gas prices after pipeline spill

Andrew Snorton, of Snellville, fills up at Quick Trip on Sugarloaf Parkway. Gas prices are increasing in Atlanta after a pipeline spill. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Andrew Snorton, of Snellville, fills up at Quick Trip on Sugarloaf Parkway. Gas prices are increasing in Atlanta after a pipeline spill. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal signed an emergency order aimed at smoothing the flow of gas into Georgia after a pipeline leak spilled an estimated 250,000 gallons of fuel in Alabama and caused an immediate bump in gas prices.

More than 500 staffers were working to repair the Colonial Pipeline leak in Helena, Ala. along a stretch of pipeline that helps supply metro Atlanta with fuel. Our AJC colleague Michael Kanell reported the average gas price in Atlanta rose from about $2.15 a gallon on Tuesday to $2.22 on Thursday, while national prices barely budged.

From his story: 

The longer the outage continues, the greater the effect in Atlanta, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, which specializes in fuel information.

Colonial is one of two companies operating large pipelines from Gulf refineries, and the other company has not reported a problem, Laskoski said. “But the Colonial pipeline is the primary supplier to the metro Atlanta area,” he said.

Nothing propels prices like a shortage – or rumors of one. After Hurricane Katrina’s hammering of the Gulf Coast, pipelines stopped functioning and gasoline prices soared.

Deal’s emergency order, signed Tuesday, temporarily lifts federal restrictions to allow truckers to stay on the road longer to shuttle more fuel into the state, though it said no “ill or fatigued driver” should be required to work. Any driver who reports they need immediate rest should be given at least 10 hours off-duty, the order said.

Updated: Deal also said Friday afternoon he extended the executive order after receiving a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are confident these measures will help ensure Georgians’ uninterrupted access to motor fuel until Alabama’s pipeline is fixed,” he said in a statement.

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Democrat Jim Barksdale is preparing to launch a statewide slate of attack ads against U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

U.S Senate Democratic candidate Jim Barksdale. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

U.S Senate Democratic candidate Jim Barksdale. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Federal disclosures filed Thursday reveal he ponied up more than $45,000 to buy ad time on WAGA-TV and another $81,000 on WSB-TV, two of the biggest Atlanta markets. He also bought air time at WMAZ in Macon, WTVM in Columbus, WJVF in Augusta and WTOC in Savannah. The ads are set to begin on Monday.

But the most revealing part of the filings was the section where Barksdale’s campaign indicated the ads will mention an opposing candidate. The millionaire investment manager seems ready to take his “Where’s Johnny?” attack to the airwaves.

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A new poll shows Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson with a 16-point lead over Democratic challenger Jim Barksdale.

Emerson College’s survey is the latest to indicate the two-term incumbent is pulling away from the Democrat, 48 percentage points to 32.

The news came the same day that Isakson’s campaign rolled out a list of endorsements more than 70 law enforcement officials.

The Emerson poll also estimates that Donald Trump has a six-point lead over Hillary Clinton in Georgia, 45 percent to 39 percent, in a four-way contest with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein.

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Georgia Democrats announced a flurry of activity for Saturday, part of the Clinton campaign’s “nationwide weekend of action.”

The party announced canvassing and phone banking events to mobilize supporters from Atlanta to Savannah.


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