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Gasoline prices skyrocket after major pipeline hacked in US

More and more gas stations on the East Coast are running out of fuel as frightened drivers aggressively fill their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical gas artery in the United States. Panic purchases threaten to exacerbate fuel price spikes due to shortages, writes ABC7.

Photo: Shutterstock

As of 16:00 pm ET Tuesday, May 11, 8,5% of gas stations in North Carolina and 7,7% in Virginia were gasoline-free, according to GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel prices and demand. Virginia's index is unchanged since 11:00 am ET, while North Carolina's is up 5,8% earlier.

GasBuddy, which collects user reports and communicates information to the government during emergencies, also reported fueling shortages in Georgia (5,8%), Florida (2,8%) and South Carolina (3,5%). ...

“Panic buying is empty plant operation in the region,” said Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy.

He warned that "irrational behavior" could prolong supply problems "by weeks."

Tiffany Wright of the American Automobile Association of North and South Carolina criticized what she called "irresponsible behavior."

“People take their entire family car fleet to the gas station and refuel when they don't need it,” Wright said. "We are our own worst enemy in this situation, because we over-consume at the gas station."

Energy chief Jennifer Granholm pleaded with Americans not to stockpile gasoline as the pipeline struggles to reopen.

“Let me emphasize that since there was no reason for the accumulation of toilet paper at the start of the pandemic, there should be no reason for the accumulation of gasoline,” Granholm said during a press briefing at the White House on May 11. "Especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be operational by the end of this week and over the weekend."

The demand for information on the availability of gas is so great that GasBuddy itself has had outages. De Haan told CNN that the platform is experiencing "slowdowns" due to "excessive traffic," so users may experience "intermittent timeouts" on its website and app.

On the subject: In the summer in the USA there may be problems with gasoline: how to prepare for it

Gasoline prices rose

According to GasBuddy, on Monday, May 10, gasoline demand in the US jumped 20% over the previous week.

In five states served by the Colonial Pipeline - Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia - demand grew 40,1%.

“I was scared that I could not go to work or take my daughters to school,” said Florida resident Linderley Bedoya. "All gas stations in my area were without gas, and when I finally found a gas station, I had to stand in line for an hour and fill up with premium unleaded gasoline."

GasBuddy lists smaller outages affecting less than 1% of gas stations in Alabama and Tennessee.

The national gasoline price climbed to $ 11 on May 2,985, the highest level in nearly six years, according to AAA.

“This stop will have implications for both gasoline supplies and prices, but the impact will vary from region to region. Regions including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia to Delaware are likely to see limited fuel availability and higher prices as early as this week, said Jeanette McGee, a spokesman for AAA. "In these states, prices could rise by 3-7 cents this week."

Emergency Measures

On the afternoon of May 11, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency "to prepare and coordinate our actions" in response to the closure of the Colonial Pipeline. Northam said that while Virginia's petrol stocks are "sufficient to address immediate supply problems," he acknowledged that the prolonged pipeline closure would cause "disruptions in the supply of petrol to various retailers."

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a state gas tax suspension order to help drivers cope with price increases caused by the Colonial Pipeline hack. Kemp's order also allows for increased weight restrictions on fuel trucks and prohibits overpricing.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on the evening of May 10, which allowed him to temporarily suspend some fuel supply regulations in an attempt to ensure sufficient supplies.

The EPA issued an emergency fuel waiver on May 11 aimed at reducing fuel shortages caused by the pipeline closure.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan cited "extraordinary and unusual fuel supply circumstances" that led to the waiving of certain federal requirements for fuels sold in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The refusal will last until May 18.

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Colonial Pipeline, which supplies nearly half of diesel and gasoline to the East Coast, said on May 10 that it hopes to resume operations by the end of the week following a hack that authorities say was carried out by a criminal group called DarkSide.

“This is a hugely important part of our energy infrastructure on the east coast,” said Neil Chatterjee, Commissioner for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "These pipelines are now in many ways at the forefront of our national defense."

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey urged residents not to panic and "refuel only if necessary, and not fill a few containers."

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

  • May 9 US government issued a state of emergency after a ransomware attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline in the United States. According to two sources familiar with the situation, a Russian criminal group may be responsible for the attack.

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