RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gasoline could be flowing in a now shut-down pipeline again — but not until Friday at the earliest, officials say.
Fuel supplies in at least five states – Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas – were threatened by the spill of the Colonial Pipeline, which was detected Sept. 9 in Alabama.
Gov. Pat McCrory activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to the temporary shortage.
“I continue to warn motorists to be on the lookout for price gouging,” said McCrory. “We are taking steps to protect consumers and ensure that fuel is continuing to flow into the state.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation ordered the company responsible to take corrective action before the fuel starts flowing again.
Already in North Carolina, many stations are without all fuel grades and some other stations have hiked prices.
Some stations are completely closed — and those that are open have long lines.
In some cases, prices nearly 80 cents per gallon higher than recent previous pricing.
Attorney General Roy Cooper on Monday urged North Carolina consumers to report gas prices that seem unreasonably high. Cooper’s office says more than 400 people have filed complaints online and via a toll-free hotline.
On Sunday night, McCrory released a statement saying that he had been in contact with Colonial about a time-frame for the pipeline repair.
Colonial already had said that they would need to build a bypass line instead of fixing the original leaking line in Shelby County, Alabama.
In McCrory’s statement Sunday, he said that Colonial indicated the bypass line would be ready by mid to late week — and that an extra day would be needed for testing before gas started flowing.
That means, if the bypass line is built and ready on Wednesday (mid-week), it would need a day of testing — and gas could start flowing Friday, at the earliest. If the line is in place at the end of the week — Friday — then gas would not start flowing until Sunday.
“Colonial described how 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 statement from McCrory’s office said.
In the meantime Colonial said in a press release Monday that they had been gathering gas from Gulf Coast refiners and then shipping it to markets throughout the southeast.
Supplies of gasoline have either been delivered or are expected to be delivered soon to “terminal stations” in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.