Gas prices have leveled off since a leaking pipeline in Alabama was repaired last week, but the 12-day pipeline shutdown and higher oil prices have pushed up gas prices over the past month by more than 17 cents per gallon.
The average retail gasoline prices in Chattanooga rose 0.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.19 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga. Nationwide, Gasbuddy price surveys show the average price dipped by 0.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.20 per gallon.
Including the change in gas prices in Chattanooga during the past week, prices Sunday were 26 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 17.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
Gas prices rose in Chattanooga after a leak was discovered on Sept. 9 in Colonial Pipeline No. 1 south of Birmingham, Ala. The pipeline carried 1.3 million gallons of gasoline a year from Houston to states in the Southeast and the East Coast. A bypass was installed to restore service last Tuesday night.
"While it appears that the worst may be behind us, we're not out of the woods yet, where gasoline inventory levels are concerned," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "The overall drop in gasoline inventory tied to Colonial Pipeline was approximately 8.5 million barrels. To put that in perspective, in the two weeks following Hurricane Katrina, east coast gasoline inventories shed 3.3 million barrels."
Gas prices have fallen from their peak levels during the pipeline outage in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, statewide averages continue to climb in two states: Tennessee ($2.16 per gallon) and Virginia ($2.10 per gallon), according to Gasbuddy.com surveys. Those states' averages were at $2.14 and $2.08 respectively on Sept. 20th, the day before service was restored.