Nathan Deal extends emergency order as Georgia gas crunch ebbs

Some gas stations had bags over their pumps and no pricing on their gas signs on Monday. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

Some gas stations had bags over their pumps and no pricing on their gas signs amid the fuel shortage. JOHN SPINK /JSPINK@AJC.COM

Colonial Pipeline resumed pumping gas into the once-leaky pipeline in Alabama that caused surging fuel prices and dry pumps across the South, but Gov. Nathan Deal warned it won’t mean a quick return to normal supply of fuel in Georgia.

The governor on Thursday extended his emergency order that gives trucks more leeway to deliver fuel until midnight Monday, when he said the gas supplies should be back to normal.

The Alpharetta-based pipeline company earlier warned that it could be several days before supply is back to normal levels, adding that its fuel only flows at about 5 miles per hour.

The pipeline was closed last week after a spill of at least 250,000 gallons of gas near near Helena, Ala., prompting Deal and other Southern governors to issue emergency orders to lift restrictions on truck drivers to help guarantee more fuel deliveries. The company said it built a new stretch of pipeline to bypass the leaky section.

The gas crunch was easing by Wednesday, although some stations were still shut down and those with fuel were selling gas at an average of 34 cents a gallon higher than it was before the leak was discovered.

Deal also signed an executive order banning gas stations from gas gouging, echoing a state law that already prohibits gas stations from significantly hiking prices during a “state of emergency.” The Georgia Consumer Protection Unit has received nearly 200 gas gouging complaints since the pipeline leak began threatening the state’s fuel supply last week.

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