Baker said crews have been working around the clock to get fuel to markets, and that it will take a few days for the fuel supply chain to fully recover after the line restarts.
The Auto Club AAA reports that gas prices continue to climb in several Southern states after the pipeline leak in Alabama slowed the flow of fuel across the South. In the meantime, he said many gas stations are running out of fuel because people are topping off their tanks or filling up more often.
US largest gasoline pipeline system, Colonial Pipeline, is set to restart its main shipping route today, easing a almost two-week supply disruption to the East Coast, after shutting down its Line 1 due to a leak in Alabama, Kallanish Energy reports. It wasn't initially possible to pinpoint the leak, partly because highly flammable benzene and gasoline vapors prevented firefighters and inspectors from approaching the site for days. The agency, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is investigating the leak in a section of the pipeline constructed in 1963, it said.
"Motorists may continue to see spotty outages this week, but once regular fuel delivery resumes, supplies should return to normal", said Garrett Townsend, Georgia public affairs director for AAA.
In Georgia, Tuesday's average price for regular gas rose about 5 cents from Monday, to an average of $2.36 statewide - up almost 27 cents over the past week.
The shortage is blamed on a pipeline rupture and leak of at least 252,000 gallons (954,000 liters) of gas in Alabama. The Columbia area saw prices rise about six cents since Monday. The shut-down of the pipeline led to dry pumps at gas stations in Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. More than 800 personnel were on site in the restart efforts.
Colonial Pipeline Co., based in Alpharetta, Ga., was formed in the 1960s by oil companies to transport their product along the Eastern Seaboard.
Work crews are trying to fix a pipeline that has spilled more than 250,000 gallons of gasoline in a rural area near Birmingham.
The pipeline runs from Texas to New Jersey, supplying fuel to states in the Southeast and on the East Coast.
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