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Gas Prices To Continue Rise As Key Southeastern Pipeline Runs Intermittently

Nick de la Canal/WFAE

Gas prices in the Carolinas have been steadily mounting as a number of gulf coast refineries shut down or limit their operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. In the Charlotte region, the average price of gas rose 27 cents over the past seven days to $2.43, according to AAA.

The biggest spike came Thursday morning, when news broke that the Colonial Pipeline, which is a major artery in the nation's fuel supply, would be shutting down completely. The pipeline provides some 40 percent of the Southeast's gasoline. Since then, the company has said its Lines 1 and 2 will continue running after all, but deliveries will be intermittent and dependent on terminal and refinery supply.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a waiver easing the flow of existing gasoline supplies into the market, and the Trump Administration has released 500,000 barrels of oil from the government's strategic petroleum reserves.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, too, has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and has waived certain restrictions. allowing fuel vehicles to travel through the state for longer stretches of time.

Despite all this, Tiffany Wright, a spokesperson for AAA Carolinas, says gas prices are expected to continue rising, and she urges drivers to be considerate at the pump.

"You can't over-consume at the pump; you can't panic at the pump, because you could really make things bad for us here in the Carolinas, and they don't have to be" Wright said, "Yes, prices are going up; yes, we have to get through it, but albeit, hopefully it's a very short period and we'll get back to normal."

Wright estimates "normal" won't come until sometime mid-September.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.