Colonial is the second major fuel pipeline to close down in recent days. The company anticipates resuming some service late Sunday.
GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan says there's a squeeze on refineries that are up and running. "It's quite another thing to not have pipelines".
"As a result of the continuing impacts on Gulf Coast-area refineries and disruption to the fuel distribution system caused by Hurricane Harvey, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt today exercised EPA's emergency fuel waiver authority to help ensure an adequate supply of fuel throughout the South, Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic", according to an EPA press release. That amounts to nearly 24 percent of all USA capacity.
As refineries along the Gulf Coast turned off the lights, Colonial, which carries fuel from Gulf Coast refineries to the East Coast, indicated that portions of its two main Lines 1 and 2 west of Lake Charles, Louisiana, would be offline and operating at reduced rates east of Lake Charles. Line 2 transports mostly diesel and aviation fuels.
"We now estimate that we will be able to return to service from Houston Sunday, following an evaluation of our infrastructure and successful execution of our start-up plan", the company said in a statement.
There are two conduits now pumping intermittently, but carrying fuel only from Lake Charles, La., which means half of the refineries the lines usually connect to are cut off, the Alpharetta-based company said.
Harvey also submerged pump stations and terminals along the Gulf Coast with its dayslong deluge, and operators such as Valero and Shell had no choice but to stop sending fuels. Motiva Enterprises holds exclusive rights to distribute Shell fuels to the majority of the southeast, said Natalie Gunnell, a spokeswoman for Shell's US products unit. The more-active October contract was up 15 percent for the week.
AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide was $2.26 per gallon.
That's 12 cents higher than a week ago, before Harvey made landfall, and 4 cents higher than on Wednesday. "There are multiple means of supplying the market to mitigate concerns with supply, including other pipelines, trucks, and barges", it said.
PREVIOUS STORY: The main pipeline carrying fuel from Texas to the East Coast is temporarily shutting down because of refinery outages related to Hurricane Harvey, the company that runs the pipeline said Wednesday night, dealing a potentially major blow to the already storm-ravaged US fuel system. In addition, two local suppliers tell FOX 5 that there is still plenty of gasoline in the state of Georgia, and warn against runs on fuel.