AAA says prices at the pump are likely to increase starting this week

ATLANTA — Gas prices increased at Georgia gas stations by six cents this week.

AAA anticipates that gas prices will climb this week in reaction to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers around 45% of gas to the East Coast. A ransomware attacked forced the shutdown of the pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York. There is no word on when it will reopen.

[RELATED: FBI confirms criminal gang responsible for ransomware attack on gas pipeline]

Analysts say gas prices could hit a 3-year high Monday.

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Drivers are now paying an average price of $2.67 per gallon at the pump. That is an increase of six cents from last week and $1.13 from this time a year ago.

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“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and price, but the impact will vary regionally,” Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA-The Auto Club Group said. “Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and prices increases as early as this week.”

The operator of the pipeline believes if the shutdown lasts more than five days, we could see the biggest fuel shortages in Georgia and Tennessee. The pipeline has already been shut down for four days.

The longer the pipeline is offline, the larger the impact on the East Coat. Other areas of the country will see little impact, according to AAA.

Channel 2′s Justin Gray talked to energy analyst Chris Edmonds, who said customers prices will go up in the next few days.

“It would not surprise me at all if this lingers through this week to see gasoline 20 to 30% higher over the next 5 to 6 days,” Edmonds said.

Gas shortages were already starting to pop up around metro Atlanta. Jaramaine Morrow pulled into a Powder Springs Rd. RaceTrac the find all the pumps shut down. RaceTrac confirmed that some Georgia gas stations are already reporting temporary outages.

“Somebody told me to get gas today because the price is about to go up, so I need gas anyway,” Morrow said. “I was just going to fill up the tank, but now ... there’s nothing here.”

AAA is advising drivers to combine trips, avoid high traffic times of day, use your most fuel-efficient car, remove heavy items from your car and minimize your use of air conditioning.

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