Gas, Diesel Prices Rise Before Colonial Pipeline Shutdown

A picture of someone fueling a car

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported average gas and diesel prices nationwide rising from the previous week. The data was gathered before the potential impact of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

Gas prices nationwide as of May 10 rose 7.1 cents from the previous week to $2.96 a gallon. Prices are $1.11 higher than they were the same week in 2020.

Diesel prices nationwide as of May 10 rose 4.4 cents from the previous week to $3.19 a gallon. Prices are 79.2 cents higher than they were in the same week in 2020.

EIA reported the Colonial Pipeline, which was affected by a ransomware cyberattack May 7, carries 2.5 million barrels per day across 5,500 miles of pipeline. The pipeline carries refined products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel from Houston up to Linden, N.J., serving markets in between.

Colonial Pipeline said Monday night it manually restarted a pipeline segment between North Carolina and Maryland. The company said it expects to substantially restore all service by the weekend.

“Pipeline shipments move at approximately 5 miles per hour, so some markets may need to rely on inventories for several days after Colonial Pipeline service is restored,” EIA stated. “Markets along the Atlantic Coast with access to deepwater ports, such as Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia, can receive limited imports from the global market and from marine shipments via coastwise compliant shipping originating from the U.S. Gulf Coast. Central Atlantic and Northeast markets can import petroleum products from Europe and Canada, and they can also obtain supplies from in-region refineries.”

The East Coast is losing around 1.2 million barrels a day of gasoline supply because of the disruption, according to a note from industry consultant FGE.

The shortage is affecting the airline industry as well. Philadelphia International Airport reported it had enough fuel to last a couple of weeks. American Airlines announced it added stops to two long flights to conserve fuel. Southwest Airlines is flying planes with additional fuel to airports such as Nashville International Airport. The move is to boost local fuel supply.

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