ATLANTA - Gas prices jumped again Monday morning as more stations across the metro area experience spotty outages caused by a broken pipeline in Alabama.
That pipeline is one of two major pipelines that sends gas from Texas to New York, supplying much of north Georgia.
A leak earlier this week led to a complete shutdown, causing a major disruption of fuel shipments.
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Several QT gas stations in the metro area are currently out of gas. Other stations Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach checked in midtown Sunday morning did have fuel, but prices are up.
Suppliers are having a tough time keeping up with demand, causing the prices to spike.
Sunday morning, the metro average is $2.41 a gallon for regular, up a quarter from a week ago.
Station drops prices
After several complaints about a station in Dallas charging $4.59 for regular gas, an employee says the owner dropped the prices back down.
Still, many drivers remained frustrated and said they felt like they were being taken advantage of.
“It’s price-gouging. Taking advantage of the situation. It’s the only place that’s got (gas) in our area and we’re on empty,” one driver said.
Another gas station in south Fulton County was charging $3.99 until our photographer showed up and began asking questions. Minutes later, the station dropped its prices down to $2.59. Gehlbach spoke with the owner on the phone who said an employee had a misunderstanding when he raised the price and it never should have been that high.
State of Emergency issued
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency, but for the “limited purpose” of suspending caps on the hours fuel truck drivers can work.
The move is intended to keep them on the roads longer to “ensure the uninterrupted supply” of gas while the pipeline is fixed, according to the order.
Experts: No need to panic
A representative from AAA who tracks fuel prices says we'll likely see spotty outages at stations until the pipeline is fixed and back open, which is expected later this week.
"The analysts that we've spoken to really say there's enough gas supply available; however, it’s tightened up a little bit, so it's gonna take a little longer for those trucks getting to the stations, filling back up and that gasoline being available for motorists,” Garrett Townsend said.
Experts say there's no need to panic or rush out to buy gas. They say that is what may be causing some of the outages.
"This is really what we hope is just a blip in a radar and those prices will continue to retreat through the fall, which is normally what they do,” Townsend said.
Company building temporary pipeline
Colonial Pipeline says it is beginning construction of a temporary pipeline that will bypass the leaking section of its main gasoline pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama.
Colonial gave no timetable Saturday as to when that bypass line would be completed or what path it would take, the Associated Press reported.
Fuel supplies in at least five states — Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas — were threatened by the spill, and the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered the company responsible to take corrective action before the fuel starts flowing again.
The company has acknowledged that between 252,000 gallons and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Alabama, since the spill was first detected Sept. 9. It's unclear when the spill actually started.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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