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Price hikes hit NC gas stations

North Carolina is seeing temporarily higher prices due to a pipeline disruption moving shipments from the Gulf Coast. Colonial Pipeline operators are working to repair the pipeline and expect to re-start the movement of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas and Louisiana refineries to a number of Gulf Coast and southeastern states sometime this week.

The pipeline disruption could contribute to the availability of supply and North and South Carolina may see higher prices until normal shipments resume.

North Carolina state officials got an update from Colonial Pipeline executives Sunday evening regarding plans for getting gasoline flowing again on one of the main lines that supplies North Carolina and many other eastern states.

North Carolina’s average price of gasoline is currently $2.16, up slightly from last week’s average of $2.05, AAA reported in an e-mailed press release. Despite the recent increases, both of the Carolinas are still seeing gas prices under the national average of $2.20.

While there are pockets of service stations that have experienced temporary shortages, many have received supplies and others have them scheduled for today. According to the release, Colonial predicts that it expects to have a bypass of the leak in place by mid- to late week.

Upon completion of the bypass, it will take a day to test and get the line back in operation. The company has also been able to use another line to offset the shortage due to the line with the leak. Colonial continues trucking and re-supplying gasoline to the areas that need it.

On Thursday, Gov Pat McCrory issued an executive order temporarily waiving hours of service restrictions for fuel vehicles traveling in and through the state in order to prevent disruptions and backups at major fuel distribution hubs. Friday, the governor issued a second executive order that waives additional trucking restrictions and protects consumers from price gouging at the fuel pumps. Both executive orders remain in place for 30 days or until they are canceled.

AAA reports that once the supply issue is fixed, motorists will enjoy lower gas prices as supplies move into the winter-blend of fuel. Pump prices typically decline during this time of year due to lower driving demand after the busy summer driving season has concluded and the changeover from summer-blend to a cheaper-to-produce winter-blend gasoline.

For those who wish to follow the Colonial Pipeline response, visit their website at www.colpipe.com. There is a link on their website that will take you directly to the Alabama response.

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