Party at the Pumps: After Explosion, Gasoline Flows Again to the East Coast

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

America’s largest gasoline pipeline returned to operational status today after an explosion in Alabama six days ago killed one worker and injured five others.

Following repair delays caused by an interior fire, Colonial Pipeline Company announced that its Line 1 pipeline was restarted early Sunday morning. However, it will take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal. The same goes for pump prices.

Southerners between Texas and South Carolina can expect to see resupply in a day, while North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland will have to wait an extra 24 hours. Meanwhile, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey will see fuel returning sometime midweek.

Pump prices are expected to quickly return to normal, and the increases proved less severe than when the same pipeline sprung a leak back in September.

WSB-TV reports Atlanta as the hardest hit, with some prices 14 cents above the slightly elevated Georgia average over the weekend. South Carolina saw fuel up an extra two cents from last week, and it was roughly a penny more in Tennessee. However, according to GasBuddy, the September’s leak saw an immediate elevation of 12.3 cents at the end of the line in New Jersey.

In contrast to the leak, workers were present during the explosion and Colonial responded immediately. Last month, Line 1 saw roughly 250,000 gallons leak before anyone become aware of the issue.

The September leak also came at a time when supplies were already limited. Refineries were in the midst of switching to winter fuel blends and entering maintenance season, Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, told CNBC.

Colonial’s Line 1 transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily between Houston and New York City and serves more than 50 million people.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the explosion, while the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is still investigating the cause of the September leak.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
4 of 23 comments
  • MazdaThreeve MazdaThreeve on Nov 07, 2016

    Isn't the Department of Homeland Security supposed to be involved in this sort of thing? Such an obvious weak point--our fuel infrastructure--can't be going unnoticed by the terrorists, whom we were told are around every corner.

    • See 1 previous
    • MazdaThreeve MazdaThreeve on Nov 07, 2016

      I'll take comfort in knowing my wife will get frisked at the airport while thousands of miles of pipeline apparently go without redundancy.

  • FormerFF FormerFF on Nov 08, 2016

    I'm in N. metro Atlanta. My wife went to the local QuikTrip to fill up yesterday, they did have 87 octane, but were out of the other two grades. If there's any sort of supply disruption it's usually QuikTrip that has problems, I get the impression they run their inventories pretty lean.

  • Billccm I think we will see history repeat itself. The French acquired AMC in the 1980s, discovered they couldn't make easy money, sold AMC off to Chrysler. Jeep is all that remained. This time the French acquired FCA, and they are discovering no easy profits. Assume an Asian manufacturer will acquire what remains of Chrysler, but this time Jeep and RAM are the only survivors.
  • William I feel very sorry for those who attempt to use an attack on a product as a way to deprecate an individual whose politics they disagree with. They delude themselves and mislead others.
  • Arthur Dailey Have to admit that I love that interior colour. And also like the upholstery on the seats and the inside of the door panels. And when was the last time you saw a door hanging coffee cup holder? Some here probably didn't know that such a device existed.
  • Buickman this is about cars. I miss Robert.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.