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Gas pipe leak raises prices in Middle Georgia, elsewhere

Lillie Stewart, left, prepares to buy premium gas at the Circle K store on U.S. 80 in west Bibb County where bags over regular and mid-grade gas showed the shortage in supply as the result of a recent pipeline spill in Alabama.
Lillie Stewart, left, prepares to buy premium gas at the Circle K store on U.S. 80 in west Bibb County where bags over regular and mid-grade gas showed the shortage in supply as the result of a recent pipeline spill in Alabama. bcabell@macon.com

When Preston McKenzie woke up Sunday morning and checked Facebook, he saw a lot of people talking about a gas shortage.

He thought it might be a good idea to run out and get a few gallons. But the first two stores he stopped at in Warner Robins were completely out. He finally found some at Bi-Lo Mart at the corner of Green Street and North Houston Road, but the store only had premium at $2.25.

He originally was only going to get $10 worth, but after thinking about it, he went back in and paid $20 so he could fill up. He wasn’t sure how long the problem might last.

“They better get some from Texas or somewhere,” he said as he pumped gas.

The shortage is spiking gas prices in Georgia and at least four other states in the Southeast. It has been blamed on a gas pipeline leak in Alabama, but the increase in prices is not expected to last long, experts said.

Colonial Pipeline, which owns the leaking pipeline, said it is bypassing the broken section but isn’t sure how long that will take, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, the company said it is pumping as much gas as possible through another pipeline to make up for the loss.

Many stations around Bibb County appeared to be operating normally Sunday morning, although prices for regular had risen to $2.19 or more at some while staying at $2.05 at others.

Many stations spotted in Warner Robins had gas Sunday evening, and most did not appear especially busy. The busiest station seen was the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on North Houston Road, which had gas at $1.99.

An employee at the Bi-Lo Mart in Warner Robins said the store ran out of regular and mid-grade morning.

Andy Njoo, an employee at the Marathon station at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Walnut Street in Macon, said a truck delivered 2,500 gallons of regular gas Sunday morning. That’s not as much as the store normally gets, however. Njoo said the driver said he had to ration out the load among stations due to the shortage.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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