Major gas pipeline shuts down due to Harvey

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 1, 2017

Colonial Pipeline says it plans to shut down a key line that supplies gasoline to the South due to storm-related refinery shutdowns and Harvey’s effect on its facilities west of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

When Colonial shut the pipeline down last year, a state of emergency was declared to allow for loosened regulations transporting fuel to avoid a supply crisis.

Local gas station owners said the shut-down definitely comes at an inopportune time.

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“We’re already scrounging for gas as it is,” said Kenny Pinckard, owner of Pinckard’s gas station on Alabama Highway 87.  “We’re actually selling gas below cost right now. It’s hard to come by right now.”

Kimberlee Messer, Circle K manager, said gas at her station has to be ordered constantly to keep up with demand already, but that the pipeline shut down shouldn’t directly impact prices. “That’s all set by corporate,” Messer said.

Messer said the station will continue to have gas throughout the weekend no matter what they have to do.

Colonial said in a statement that it would shut off the line Thursday. The company had already closed down another line that transports primarily diesel and aviation fuels.

The pipeline provides nearly 40 percent of the South’s gasoline.

The leak and gas spill that closed the Colonial Pipeline last year led to days of empty gas station pumps and higher prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The company didn’t say how long it expects the closure to last, saying it will know more when workers can evaluate its facilities.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.