Powell Petroleum

The spill is contained, but a pipeline leak in Shelby County has created gas shortages and price increases throughout the southeast.

Gov. Robert Bentley toured the spill response earlier today, but was not allowed near the site where 6,000 barrels of gasoline spilled into a Helena pond and highly flammable vapors forced investigators to wait more than 48 hours before they could approach the site.

Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas have seen the biggest gas shortages thanks to the spill. While shortages are not as dire in Alabama, prices have risen a bit.

According to, Alabama’s statewide average for a gallon of gas went up 9 cents since this time last week, bringing the state average up to $2.02 a gallon.

That may sound significant, but petroleum expert Gregg Laskoski said it could be worse — just ask drivers in Atlanta.

“In Atlanta, they are looking at an average of $2.26 a gallon,” he said. “That’s up about 30 cents from where it was last week.”

Tripp Powell, who owns 12 Powell Petroleum stations throughout Tuscaloosa County, said he’s seen a slight increase in traffic at his pumps. But Tuscaloosa has a great resource in local fuel provider Hunt Refining Co., he said, and that’s why you may not see shortages or price hikes heavily impacting businesses like his.

“Tuscaloosa is a little unique in that we have a refinery in town,” he said. “We don’t have to depend on going to one certain place to buy.”

The absolute worst thing drivers can do in a situation like this is panic, Laskoski said. Just maintain your usual driving and purchasing patterns, he said, but keep an eye out for any changes.

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