Drivers across town may have noticed a recent hit at the pump, due in part to Hurricane Harvey.
In addition to oil and gas companies operating in Texas and off the Gulf of Mexico stopping or cutting operations because of Harvey, late last week the Colonial Pipeline Company announced they had shut off portions of their fuel lines running out of Houston.
The Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline system in the U.S. and transports millions of barrels of gasoline across a 5,500-mile span on the East Coast.
Based on the Auburn gas stations listed on gas-price-tracking website GasBuddy, the average price of regular gasoline in town as of this afternoon is $2.56 a gallon, which is still below the national average of $2.65, but more than the $2.49 average in Alabama.
The average price of diesel fuel in Auburn, according to GasBuddy, is now cheaper than the average price of regular fuel, a rarity, at $2.50 a gallon.
Gas prices in Montgomery, the closest city to Auburn that GasBuddy provides extensive price history for, sat around $2.07 a gallon on Aug. 24, a day before Harvey made landfall. Prices have risen since then, and they now sit at $2.59 in Montgomery.
A portion of the pipeline was restarted on Monday, and Colonial announced this afternoon that the line transporting gasoline between Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana, was restarted.
Still, as long as Houston and the surrounding areas suffer from the lasting effects of Harvey, gas prices in Alabama may be higher than usual.
“Until Texas can recover from Harvey, gasoline prices will likely continue to remain elevated,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, in a statement released on Tuesday. “The situation is beginning to look up, with many refineries either back online or in the process, and gasoline production is ramping back up.”
With the Colonial Pipeline having shut down last week due to a lack of products, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic may be a touch-and-go area for gasoline.”
Hurricane Irma, which was upgraded to a Category 5 storm earlier today, could also affect gas production and distribution in the South and the rest of the country if the storm edges into the Gulf of Mexico.
In October 2016, an explosion along the Colonial Pipeline left two dead and four others injured in Shelby County while workers were repairing the line that had suffered a rupture the month before.
Both the deadly explosion and rupture also led to gas shortages across the Southeast.