Alabama oil pipe­line leak caus­ing higher gas prices

Baltimore Sun - - BUSINESS MARYLAND - By Colin Camp­bell The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. cm­camp­bell@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/cm­camp­bell6

A mas­sive pipe­line leak in Alabama ear­lier this month is driv­ing up gas prices in Mary­land and else­where on the East Coast, AAA Mid-At­lantic said Tues­day.

The roughly 300,000-gal­lon leak, dis­cov­ered Sept. 9 in a sec­tion of the Colo­nial Pipe­line in He­lena, Ala., prompted the com­pany to tem­po­rar­ily shut down two pipe­lines, lead­ing to scat­tered gaso­line short­ages and out­ages across the South.

The pipe­line trans­ports about 1.3 mil­lion bar­rels of re­fined prod­ucts per day from Gulf Coast re­finer­ies to cus­tomers from At­lanta to New York — nearly 40 per­cent of the re­gion’s gaso­line.

The shut­down has pushed up prices all along the East Coast. The av­er­age price of a gal­lon of gas in Bal­ti­more was $2.24 on Tues­day, up 9 cents from last week, ac­cord­ing to AAA’s anal­y­sis.

Prices in Sal­is­bury on the Eastern Shore, which gen­er­ally has some of the cheap­est gas in the state, have jumped 20 cents per gal­lon, also to an av­er­age of $2.24, since last week, said Rag­ina Cooper Averella, an AAA Mid-At­lantic spokes­woman.

“It looks like we’re get­ting some of the trickle-down ef­fect of what is oc­cur­ring in some of the more South­ern states,” Averella said.

Gas prices had been trend­ing dow­nafter the summer driv­ing season, and they’re ex­pected to con­tinue to fall once the pipe­line prob­lem is re­solved, Averella said.

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