For the second time in two months, a pipeline that supplies gasoline to millions of people was shut down, raising the specter of another round of gas shortages and price increases. The disruption occurred when a track hoe – a machine used to remove dirt – struck the pipeline, ignited gasoline and caused an explosion Monday that sent flames and thick black smoke soaring over a forest in northern Alabama, Colonial Pipeline said. One worker was killed and a half-dozen were injured.
A September leak that spilled 252,000 to 336,000 gallons of gasoline occurred not far from the location of Monday’s explosion. That leak led to days of dry pumps and higher gas prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas while repairs were made. The cause of the leak still has not been determined, and the effects of the latest disruption weren’t immediately clear. READ MORE