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Deal suspends rules on trucker hours after pipeline leak threatens gas supplies
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A leak in the Colonial pipeline, which runs from Texas to New Jersey and supplies gasoline for much of Georgia and the eastern seaboard, has pushed Gov. Nathan Deal to extend an executive order that suspends rules limiting the hours commercial truck drivers can operate when delivering fuel.

The order, which coincides with a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency, is meant to ensure the supply of transportation fuel across the state remains uninterrupted.

Weather has been blamed for delays in fixing the breach — which was discovered Sept. 9 in Alabama — and keeping the pipeline partially shut off. This, in turn, has limited supply and contributed to rising gas prices.  

According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in Georgia is $2.13, an increase of three cents from Thursday to Friday. So far, prices in Gainesville haven’t gone noticeably higher, according to the website. Prices ranged from $2.09 to $2.15 a gallon as of Friday afternoon at stations listed.

Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis for Oil Price Information Service, said the Colonial pipeline could be shipping at a normal volume beginning next week.

“I do not anticipate areas where motorists won’t be able to find gasoline,” Kloza said in a statement. “Crude oil is still in a glut position, so you may see crude oil prices weaken and watch as local gasoline prices go up by 5-10 cents a gallon.”

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley also lifted restrictions on truck drivers’ hours.

Colonial Pipeline has said most of the leaked gasoline is contained in a retention pond near the city of Helena. The 250,000 gallon spill was first detected on Sept. 9, but it’s not clear when it began.

The company doesn’t expect to fully reopen the pipeline until next week.