The pipeline incident comes at the beginning of the summer driving season, when fuel prices traditionally rise anyway.
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Goldman Sachs issued a report on Sunday saying that since there was no physical damage to the pipeline, “the bullish impact on East Coast fuel prices is likely to be transient.”
But gasoline shortages could appear if the pipeline is still shut well into the week, some analysts said.
“Even a temporary shutdown will likely drive already rising national retail gas prices over $3 per gallon for the first time since 2014,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management and an investor in natural gas and oil pipelines and storage.
At least one gasoline station in Camden, S.C., alerted drivers on Sunday that it would limit sales of gas to 20 gallons because of the suspension of pipeline operations.
One reason that prices have not surged so far is that the East Coast generally has ample supplies of fuel in storage. And fuel consumption, while growing, remains depressed from prepandemic levels.
Still, there are some vulnerabilities in the supply system. Stockpiles in the Southeast are slightly lower than normal for this time of year. Refinery capacity in the Northeast is limited, and the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, a supply held for emergency interruptions, contains only a total of one million barrels of gasoline in New York, Boston and South Portland, Maine.