Drivers in the Greater Toronto Area may soon start encountering gas stations that have run out of fuel due to new restrictions that have been placed on a major pipeline.

The National Energy Board ordered Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. to reduce the flow of oil throughout its pipeline system by 10 per cent in a ruling issued on Sept. 27.

In a news release explaining their decision, the NEB said that the order was made in response to a number of “pipeline releases and overpressure incidents that occurred in 2009 and 2010.” The NEB said that the order would remain in effect while Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. “implements a longer term solution.”

The order could, however, have an impact in the supply of gasoline in the interim, warns fuel expert Dan McTeague.

“There are a number of concerns that NEB has identified and it is not going to be a 7 or 10 day fix,” McTeague told CP24 on Tuesday. “Ultimately gas stations will see the effect. Some will close down for brief periods of time.”

Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. operates a 915 kilometre pipeline that carries product from refineries in Montreal and Nanticoke, Ontario to destinations in both the GTA and Montreal.

McTeague said that he doesn’t expect that the reduced flow of gasoline through the pipeline will affect prices at the pump but he said he does expect it to begin creating supply issues for local gas stations, with brief closures of some locations possible.

“You may have to go a little further from your favourite gas station,” he said.