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A gas station displays a sign informing customers it is out of certain grades of gasoline in Atlanta, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Colonial Pipeline said it is beginning construction of a temporary pipeline that will bypass a leaking section of its main gasoline pipeline in Shelby County, Ala. Fuel supplies in at least five states, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas, were threatened by the spill, and the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered the company responsible to take corrective action before the fuel starts flowing again. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A pipeline leak is causing gas shortages and price hikes along the East Coast


A leak has led to the closure of the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York and provides gasoline for an estimated 50 million people along the East Coast daily, according to CNN

That closure could drive up the price of gas and cause shortages along the East Coast.

Officials believe six states -- Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia -- could face shortages due to the spill. 

A section of the pipeline has been closed since Sept. 9, after about 250,000 gallons were spilled in Shelby, Alabama. 

A release from Colonial Pipeline said that a mining inspector in Shelby, Alabama, detected a gasoline odor and quickly alerted the company, which maintains two pipelines in the area. 

Both were shut down as a precaution 

According to CNN, the company has not yet determined what caused the leak in the pipeline. 

Tanker trucks line up at a Colonial Pipeline Co. facility in Pelham, Ala., near the scene of a 250,000-gallon gasoline spill on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. The company says spilled gasoline is being taken to the storage facility for storage. Some motorists could pay a little more for gasoline in coming days because of delivery delays. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press. 

In addition, the pipeline's operator said full service will not be restored until sometime next week.

On Saturday, the company released a statement saying, "Colonial Pipeline has begun to execute its alternative plan to construct a bypass line around the leak site to allow Line 1 to return to service as rapidly and safely as possible."

Tom Kloza, the chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service told CNN that ships are already working to carry fuel from Texas to New York. 

You're going to see some places without gasoline. It's like a mini-hurricane.
Tom Kloza

He added that pipelines are the cheapest way to move oil, so any alternative could cause price hikes. 

The pipeline operator told CNN that based on current projections parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will be the first to see supply disruptions.

The governors of each have already declared states of emergency. 

Normally at this time of year, gas prices would start falling, but Kloza said people on the East Coast will likely see a 5 to 10 cent per gallon increase. 

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