U.S. pump prices rise as Colonial preps gasoline line restart

Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:08am EDT
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By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gasoline prices in the southeast United States kept rising on Monday as Colonial Pipeline Co worked to fix a more-than-week long disruption on a key gasoline line due to a leak that has led to long lines and complaints of price gouging.

The leak, which was discovered on Sept. 9, released about 6,000 to 8,000 barrels (252,000-336,000 gallons) of gasoline in Shelby County, Alabama. The partial shutdown of the damaged Line 1, which carries about 1.3 million barrels per day of gasoline from the refining hub on the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, also roiled markets.

Retail gasoline prices in Georgia, one of the hardest hit states, jumped nearly 6 cents overnight to Monday, or more than 20 cents higher than a week ago, to $2.316 a gallon on average, according to motorists' advocacy group AAA.

Richard Parks, 32, an electrician in Atlanta, said he saw the price of regular gas jump at a Shell Station in East Atlanta to $2.69 on Monday from $2.51 on Sunday.

"I didn't think it would get worse overnight, but it just did," Parks said while waiting in a line to refuel on Monday.

Benchmark gasoline futures fell 2 percent on Monday to $1.4318 a gallon, after having risen 9 percent in the week following the leak.

Availability of fuel has varied across the region, with long lines seen throughout Atlanta, as well as in Nashville, Tennessee. Pump prices in Alabama ticked up to $2.01 on Monday while prices in Tennessee rose nearly 3 cents to $2.13 from $2.10 on Sunday, according to the AAA.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said during a press conference Monday he was "concerned" about the amount of gasoline the state has and said Colonial's chief executive told him Monday that the line would likely restart this week.   Continued...

Out of fuel signs are pictured on gas pumps at a Twice Daily Shell station on West End Ave. and N. 17th Ave. S. in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. September 17, 2016. REUTERS/David Mudd