Metro Atlanta gas prices jump as floods pinch supply

Gassing up is a little more costly, thanks to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding it caused in Texas. (AJC file photo)
Gassing up is a little more costly, thanks to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding it caused in Texas. (AJC file photo)

Two fuel pipelines shutting down

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.

Wednesday morning, Colonial Pipeline said 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."

Why Hurricanes Can Cause Us to Pay More at the Pump

That changed Wednesday evening, when Colonial Pipeline announced it is shutting down those two crucial fuel conduits.

The ability of the pipeline to supply fuel has also been affected by “storm-related damage at our Pasadena, Houston, and Cedar Bayou facilities,” the company said in a statement via website 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 22 cents a gallon on average in the past week with about 13 cents of increase coming in the past three days, according to AtlantaGasPrices, a unit of Gas Buddy.

As of Wednesday evening, the average price was $2.46 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.


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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