An explosion in Alabama that injured at least seven people and forced Colonial Pipeline Co. to shut down a major gasoline and diesel line that pumps gas to Georgia is likely to cause surging fuel prices across the Southeast, according to the Georgia AAA chapter.
Garrett Townsend, a spokesman for AAA, said Monday the explosion along the Alpharetta-based company’s pipeline came just as gas prices were just beginning to recover from the closure in September, when the pipeline was out of service for almost two weeks after a leak in Shelby County, Ala. Colonial Pipeline built a bypass line that was set to be removed next month.
“The explosion will at least temporarily put a halt to the pump-price dip we’ve experienced over the past 30 days,” said Townsend.
It could also put pressure on Gov. Nathan Deal, who signed an executive order in September reinforcing a ban on price-gouging at the fuel pumps, to take emergency action in Georgia.
The September spill leaked at least 252,000 gallons of gasoline and led to fuel shortages and price hikes in metro Atlanta, where the pipeline is one of two main providers of fuel to the region, and several other states. It was Colonial Pipeline’s worst in the past six years and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis found that the company reported 128 spills to federal regulators in that time.