A Valero oil refinery’s flare continues to burn as Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Corpus Christi Friday. Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas late Friday, lashing a wide swath of the Gulf Coast with strong winds and torrential rain from the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. NICK WAGNER/AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Photo: Associated Press
Photo: Associated Press

Unfilled pipeline from Houston: Atlanta gas price avg. up to $2.41 a gallon

The massive flooding in Houston has pinched the shipment of gasoline to metro Atlanta, pushing prices at the pump higher – and the rise is likely to continue.

Colonial Pipeline said Tuesday afternoon that its system, which includes two pipelines running from Houston across the southeast to Atlanta, “continues to operate at a reduced capacity due to limited supply from Houston-area origins.”

The ability of the pipeline to supply fuel has also been damaged by “storm-related damage at our Pasadena, Houston, and Cedar Bayou facilities,” the company said in a statement via web site and email.

Colonial, which is based in Alpharetta, said it can handle fuel from any of its facilities east of Hebert, Texas, a little more than 90 miles from Houston.

Gas prices in metro Atlanta have risen about 17 cents a gallon on average in the past week with 11 cents of increase coming in the past three days, according to AtlantaGasPrices, a unit of Gas Buddy.

As of Wednesday morning, the average price is about $2.41 a gallon.

Colonial pipelines carry fuel from refineries near Houston east through Atlanta and then up the coast to Linden, N.J., just south of New York. That part of the Texas coast hit hardest by Harvey is home to gas refineries as well as being a major conduit for oil pumped from rigs in the Gulf of Mexico or tanker ships from overseas. 

So the price of gas in Atlanta and points north is likely to keep rising until the situation improves in and around Houston.

Colonial’s pipelines can carry more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. That is more than four times the capacity of Plantation Pipeline, the second largest conduit for fuel from the Gulf.

The start of the Plantation pipeline, however, is in Louisiana, which was not badly hit by the storm.

 

Map of Colonial Pipeline system

 

Refineries are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee.

AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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