Harvey shuts down major fuel pipeline supplying Alabama, East Coast

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The Colonial Pipeline, which provides nearly 40 percent of the South’s gasoline, has shut down after Hurricane Harvey forced the closure of refineries and some of the pipeline’s own facilities.

The company chose to shut down a one of its two lines, which supplies fuel to the Yellowhammer State among others, due to the storm’s effect on facilities west of Lake Charles, La.

“Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations,” the company said in a news release.

The news immediately sent gasoline prices across the country so a two-year high, Reuters reported Wednesday night. The average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose from roughly $2.35 a week ago to $2.45, AAA reported.

Colonial Pipeline_Harvey Status Map

[Photo Credit: Colonial Pipeline]

The pipeline transports more than 3 million barrels of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel each day from the Houston area to the New York harbor and includes more than 5,500 miles of pipeline, most of which is underground.

It last  closed in September 2016 after a leak and gas spill in Helena, Ala. leading to days of empty gas station pumps and higher prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and across the Carolinas.

The company said it estimates it will be able to return to full service Sunday,

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