A state of emergency has been declared after a pipeline leaked 250,000 gallons of of gasoline in Alabama, prompting experts to warn drivers about price increases and fuel shortages along the east coast.

Pipeline Likely Shut Down Until Next Week For Repairs

The Colonial Pipeline, which provides gasoline for 50 million people on the east coast every day, has been shut down for repairs after the leak was discovered on September 9. As a temporary fix, the company has shifted gasoline into a line that normally carries diesel fuel and jet fuel, but the gasoline is expected to run out by early next week.

It is unclear what caused the leak.

Most of the gasoline was contained in a retaining pond in Helena, but some has reportedly leaked into the soil. It is not expected to cause significant environmental damage

Southeastern States To See Fuel Shortages And Price Increases

Colonial Pipeline says that it expects to start seeing fuel shortages first in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

According to oil distributor Mansfield Oil Co., finding diesel fuel will “become challenging beginning this weekend or early next week.”

Experts also say that the cost of fuel in the affected areas could rise from anywhere between 5 to 20 cents per gallon. The pipeline spill could also cause fuel prices to rise across the nation.

Alabama and Georgia have both declared states of emergency. This will allow fuel truck drivers to exceed normal hours of service regulations in order to meet the demand for fuel. Additionally, ships have been sent from New York to Houston to help to deliver fuel to drivers in the northeast.

Colonial Pipeline says that they hope to have repairs made and gasoline flowing through the pipeline again sometime next week.

Sources:
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
WKRN
AL.com
KFOR