Gas prices rise in NJ as Harvey forces shutdown of pipeline

Gas prices rise in NJ as Harvey forces shutdown of pipeline

Gas prices rise in NJ as Harvey forces shutdown of pipeline

Meanwhile, national gas prices jumped to a new record this year of $2.62 for regular gas - just a week ago prices were 30 cents lower, travel guide AAA reported. But Thursday morning it got worse: Colonial Pipeline announced it shut down a main line that supplies 40 percent of the South's gasoline.

Harvey's disruption of the petroleum industry has driven gasoline futures prices up 16 per cent over the past week and prices at the pump are rising too, particularly in the South.

The pipeline transports more than 3 million barrels of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel each day from the Houston area to the NY harbor and includes more than 5,500 miles of pipeline, most of which is underground.

The closure of key refineries and some of the pipeline's own resources by Hurricane Harvey facilitated the partial closure. The total production capacity of the closed refineries is about 3.04 million barrels a day. There is still some fuel flowing through the pipeline from Lake Charles to point east.

Analysts say until damage to the refineries is assessed, they won't know how long the shortage and therefore the hike in gas prices will last. "When you have a situation like this, the problems go all up and down the pipeline", Cooper said.

"As Harvey continues to wreak havoc, consumers will see a short-term spike in the coming weeks with gas prices likely topping $2.50 per gallon, but quickly dropping by mid to late September", said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic's Manager of Public and Government Affairs.

Shortages were expected throughout North Texas - a shortfall caused by closed refineries on the Gulf Coast as a result of Hurricane Harvey - and several stations in Cleburne shrouded their pumps as gas ran out.

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The steepest price hike since last week was recorded by Gas Buddy, in Greenville, SC, where the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.46, up.379 cents.

Ingram said he would not be surprised to see gas dip back below the $2-per-gallon mark this fall.

Even before the announcement, Harvey had already shut down the nation's largest refinery operations, halting about 20 percent of the country's daily supply of fuel.

"Once Colonial personnel can safely access these facilities, we will evaluate and provide an estimate of the time necessary to ensure our pipe, pumps, tanks and related infrastructure are safe to resume operations between Houston and Lake Charles", the statement said.

Those braving the lines were finding prices in Cleburne ranging from $2.19 at H-E-B Grocery store to $2.36 at Valero on East Henderson Street. Gas prices in Athens ranged Thursday from $2.09-per-gallon to $2.19-per-gallon, according to gasbuddy.com.

This past weekend's storm is moving on from the Gulf region; however, its impact on fuel supplies could be felt as far away as the East Coast. Motiva said restarting the refinery would depend on floodwaters receding.

The Energy Department announced Thursday morning that the agency would pump 500,000 barrels of oil from the US strategic reserve.

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