HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Two hundred and fifty thousand gallons of gasoline! That’s a lot of fuel.
Think about it this way -- if your vehicle holds 17 gallons, that's enough fuel to fill 'er up 14,705 times! It’s a quarter of a million gallons of gas. That's how much gas spilled from a pipeline in a rural area near Birmingham, and it could affect the price of gasoline across the entire southeastern United States.
Crews are working to repair the pipeline. They have sealed the leak, but a spokesperson for Colonial Pipeline said there is a possibility more fuel could get out. The leak was first discovered last Friday, September 9th, but it's not clear exactly when the gas started leaking.
Colonial said most of the gasoline is in a retention pond near Helena and there's no danger to the public. Colonial operates about 5,500 miles of pipeline that runs from Houston to New York City.
Do we have to worry about a gasoline shortage? We posed that question to Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. He doesn't think that will be the case, although we may see an increase in gas prices, maybe 10 to 15 cents a gallon, in Alabama during the next week or so. At the same time, he's hopeful this is a short term problem and expects prices to be below $2/gallon by the end of October.
Right now, gas prices are averaging at around $1.94 per gallon statewide. According to GasBuddy.com prices range from $1.71 in Fort McClellan to $2.85 per gallon at a convenience store in Arab. In Huntsville, the average is $1.96 which is a couple of pennies higher than the state average.
Do you need to fill up this weekend? Not unless your gas gauge is on E! And let's face it, if everyone does fill up, it's going to create a shortage and will only make the problem worse. If you can make it without filling up this weekend, it will save you a few dollars in the long run.