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    Gas Shortage Fears Lessened As Pipeline Picks Up

    AAA forecast another two weeks of shortages.

    ATLANTA -- The gas shortage that has plagued the Southern U.S. is slowly coming to an end as the Colonial Pipeline, which serves as the main artery for gas coming to metro Atlanta terminals from the Gulf Coast region, was running at pre-Hurricane Ike levels earlier this week.

    "The supply is getting better, the capacities of the pipeline are kicking up," QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told WSB-TV, adding all stations are expected to be operational by today. Last week, nearly half of its 111 Atlanta area locations were out of gas.

    In an attempt to spur forward motion, Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue sent a letter to President George W. Bush, asking him to release what he called "a significant amount of crude oil" from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, reported 11Alive.com. Meanwhile, the state encouraged employers to promote telecommuting options while supplies ramp up.

    Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle met with leaders in the state’s gasoline delivery network. After the meeting, he told 11Ailive.com it will be difficult to predict when the pervasive issues will be cleared and business can return to usual.

    "There is also somewhat panic on the streets with individuals crossing and passing gas stations, and being out of gas," Cagle told 11Alive.com. "And that creates an impact in the market."

    As more tankers arrive to area gas stations, AAA cautioned the impacts of the shortage might present challenges for another two weeks. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reported Monday that only two of 33 Gulf Coast refineries affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike remain closed. However, 13 others were still either in restart mode or producing less gas than normal, the DOE reported.

    In Greensboro, N.C., several stations that were dry last week were up and running with gas Monday. "A lot of supply came into the Carolinas from the pipeline over the weekend," Carol Gifford, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas, told the News & Record.

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