Canada Pipeline Explosion likely to raise gas prices across Pacific Northwest

Canada Pipeline Explosion likely to raise gas prices across Pacific Northwest. (KTVL/Genevieve Grippo)

A pipeline explosion in Prince George, Canada will likely have repercussions in southern Oregon.

The blast shut down the Enbridge natural gas pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver.

According to Patrick DeHaan, Head Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy, gas prices are set to rise across the Pacific Northwest over the coming week because of the explosion.

While the pipeline that exploded carried natural gas, DeHaan said oil refineries in Washington state rely on that natural gas to help power their facilities to produce gas, diesel and jet fuel.

"It's going to make it very difficult or impossible for these refineries to continue operating," said DeHaan. "Without the feed of natural gas, it's kind of like losing power to your house. You can't do a whole lot without it."

According to DeHaan, gas across the Pacific Northwest could go up by ten to 20 cents a gallon-- possibly even more.

The time frame for the price spike depends on how long the pipeline is out of service. DeHaan predicts it will take at least a week or two.

In the meantime, GasBuddy advises consumers not to use more gas than nececssary.

"It's very tricky to resupply the West Coast, but the higher prices will attract other refineries," he said. "It could be a little bumpy until the situation gets better."

While drivers might notice their wallets thinning as their tanks are filling, fliers may have more luck.

Though impacted oil refineries in Washington also produce jet fuel, DeHaan doubts the explosion will have much of an impact on ticket prices.

"Networks of airlines are pretty substantial," he said. "Usually there's at least several months of higher sustained prices before airlines react."

This price increase comes at a time when southern Oregon drivers are already getting pinched at the pump.

Drivers in Medford are paying an average of $3.37 for a gallon of gas, according to Michael Conde, a Public Affairs Director with AAA.

That's up five cents from one week ago, nine cents from one month ago, and a whopping 57 cents from this time last year.

"These conditions are all over the place," said Conde. "The West has always got the highest gas prices."

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