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Gas pipeline blast cancels garbage pickup, gasoline price spikes expected

Garbage truck (Photo: KOMO News)

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia - Garbage and recycling pickup was called off for customers in much of King and Snohomish Counties for Thursday because of the natural gas pipeline explosion in British Columbia.

Waste Management said the blast disrupted the supply for the company's trucks, which run on natural gas. There will be no service for areas including Algona, Auburn, Federal Way, Kirkland, Mill Creek, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, and the unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish counties.

The company is unsure when service may be restored.

In addition, the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes and other oil refineries are shutting down because they need a steady supply of natural gas to refine crude oil into gasoline - and that will almost certainly drive up the cost of gas at the pump, experts say, as much as 30 cents per gallon.

"With those refineries shutting down due to the absence of natural gas, we're likely to see gas prices start to spike. You may notice spikes anywhere from 10 to 20 and maybe even 30 cents a gallon over the next week," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com.

"It's a possible scenario that if these refineries don't return to service, we're going to be looking at less supply and that could pose a problem - not necessarily today or tomorrow, but certainly in the next week. So just be ready for higher prices."

"That's a lot of money from an explosion,” said driver Thomas Taylor. "And that doesn't recover right away, right? So, it is a little stressful."

"It’s hard paying for gas already,” said driver Dylan Miller. “So it will be even harder for people who need their car."

The Enbridge natural gas pipeline erupted around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, sending flames and smoke shooting into the sky and shutting down the pipeline about 600 miles northeast of Vancouver, B.C.

"It sounded like a jet engine," Regional Chief Terry Teegee of the nearby Takla Lake First Nation told CTV News. The area around the pipeline was evacuated, but most residents have since been allowed to return home and there have been no reports of any injuries. Officials are still looking into the cause of the explosion.

Puget Sound Energy says there is no damage or effect on its local natural gas system from the explosion, but the company gets about 2/3rds of its natural gas supply from that pipeline, according to spokesperson Andrew Padula. The company is urging its 750,000 customers to lower their thermostats and limit hot water use at least through Wednesday.

Cascade Natural Gas also said the pipeline rupture could affect its ability to supply natural gas to its customers’ homes and businesses in Western Washington. Cascade has requested industrial customers to curtail usage and is asking residential and business customers to help conserve natural gas. The damaged pipeline also feeds Northwest Natural Gas in Portland.


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