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Gasoline prices spike as Colonial begins bypass around damaged line

Sept 18 Retail gasoline prices surged on Saturday due to the ongoing problems with Colonial Pipeline Co's gasoline line that carries fuel to the U.S. East Coast, as the company started to construct a bypass line around the leak.

Colonial said Saturday evening that it would construct a bypass that circumvents the leak that occurred more than a week ago in Shelby County, Alabama. It is unclear when construction will be completed, but the company has previously said it anticipates a reopening of the line later this week.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia rose to $2.26 as of Sunday morning, according motorists' advocacy group AAA, up more than six cents overnight and more than 15 cents in a week. Prices were up 4 cents in North Carolina to $2.136 and 4 cents in South Carolina to $2.011.

Local media reports have shown long gasoline lines forming across the U.S. southeast due to the shutdown, and analysts believe that retail prices could be affected for more than two weeks. New York gasoline futures are up 9 percent in the last week, and are anticipated to rise when trading overseas begins on Sunday evening.

Colonial shut its main gasoline and distillate lines that run from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast on Sept. 9 after the leak was discovered. The damaged Line 1 can carry 1.2 million barrels of gasoline per day and runs from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina.

On Friday, Colonial increased its estimate of the volume of the spill to a range of 6,000-8,000 barrels from a previous estimate of 6,000 barrels. (Reporting By David Gaffen)

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