With Florida mostly unaffected by a major leak in the Colonial Pipeline, gas prices across the region and state continued to drop during the past week.
That’s hardly the case around much of the Southeast, where prices spiked and six states declared a state of emergency because of supply shortages as crews continued to work “around the clock” to fix the leak near Birmingham, Alabama.
According to AAA, Monday’s average price per gallon of regular unleaded in the Bradenton-Sarasota area was $2.09, about three cents less than one week ago.
According to the GasBuddy live tracker, which surveys 308 outlets in the area, Monday’s prices were averaging $2.08 per gallon in Manatee County and $2.13 in Sarasota County. That’s two cents cheaper in Manatee than a week earlier, and three cents less in Sarasota.
Comparatively, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater average was at $2.09, while the Orlando area was at $2.08. Miami, meanwhile, was averaging $2.26 per gallon, well above the state average of $2.16. The national average was $2.20.
While most of Florida’s gas supply is shipped in by waterborne vessels from refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, much of the Southeast is feeling a big impact from the Colonial Pipeline leak, which was discovered Sept. 9.
Colonial has acknowledged that between 252,000 and 336,000 gallons of gas have spilled from the pipeline, though it remains unclear when the leak began. Colonial officials said the company was constructing a bypass to the damaged pipeline and were optimistic it would resume normal operations this week.
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, warned that gas could be diverted from Florida to affected states and could, at least temporarily, drive up prices in the Sunshine State.
“A band-aid is not going to fix the problems in the Southeast,” DeHaan said. “This is among the largest outages of fuel since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.”
Prices in Georgia on Monday were averaging $2.31 per gallon, up 21 cents during the past week. In Tennessee, the average was $2.12, up 13 cents from last week.
Georgia and Tennessee were among six states that declared a state of emergency since the Colonial Pipeline leak was detected. The others are Alabama ($2.01, up seven cents in the past week), North Carolina ($2.16, up 11 cents), South Carolina ($2.04, up 13 cents) and Virginia ($2.03, up five cents).
Prices are likely to continue to rise until the pipeline is fully restored, according to AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.
Once the leak is repaired, “prices should quickly begin to decline,” Jenkins said.