Colonial Pipeline Will Temporarily Shutdown Due To Hurricane Harvey

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionTrump'Texas can handle anything

That's led to a spike in US gasoline futures, which reflect wholesale prices and eventually trickle down to consumers. The EPA said on Wednesday that it had expanded fuel waivers for gasoline throughout the U.S. Southeast in anticipation of supply shortages.

Gov. Roy Cooper said gas shortages and higher gas prices should be expected. In the Charlotte region, the average price of gas rose from 27 cents over the past seven days to $2.43, according to AAA.

Gas prices have been steadily rising in Columbus for more than a week, jumping from an average of $2.16 to $2.29 for regular unleaded fuel.

Colonial Pipeline Co [COLPI.UL], the largest USA fuel system, said on Wednesday it expects outages at its Houston and Hebert area fuel supply points in Texas likely will continue through the weekend as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Almost one-third of the nation's refining capacity is along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi, Texas, to the Lake Charles, Louisiana area, and about one-quarter of the Gulf Coast's oil refining capacity was taken offline, according to the Oil Price Information Service. The supply crunch prompted QuikTrip, one of the nation's largest convenience store chains, to temporarily halt gasoline sales at about half its 135 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

All stores will remain open, though only half will have gasoline.

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The same pipeline was shutdown in September of previous year due to a leak and gas spill in Alabama.

Colonial aims to get the affected portion of the pipeline running by Sunday after it evaluates its infrastructure.

The pipeline hauls more 3 million barrels a day of refined products including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast refining hub to the populous U.S. Northeast. "Imports can't make up for this". As Tropical Storm Harvey hit southeast Louisiana on Wednesday, it brought torrential rains that shut the biggest US refinery, owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur, Texas, and one nearby held by Total SA.

Of the 26 refineries that connect to the Colonial system, 13 are located between Houston and Lake Charles.

Colonial gave no timetable for bringing the critical conduits back online. Josh Carrasco, a spokesman for AAA AutoClub Group, told NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta that Labor Day gasoline prices would likely be the highest since 2014.

"We now estimate that we will be able to return to service from Houston Sunday, following an evaluation of our infrastructure and successful execution of our start-up plan", Colonial officials said. "And then we'll have more clarity down the road".

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