Panic Drives Gas Shortages After Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack : NPR

Customers rave about a COSTCO gas station fearing a gas shortage in Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday. The line in the facility extended around the entire building. Steve Helber / AP hide caption

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Steve Helber / AP

Customers rave about a COSTCO gas station fearing a gas shortage in Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday. The line in the facility extended around the entire building.

Steve Helber / AP

The Colonial Pipeline hack, which shut down the large gasoline and jet fuel pipeline to large parts of the south and east coast, is creating temporary bottlenecks.

The cyberattack-disabled computer systems responsible for fuel production in Texas in the northeast and now gas stations in the southeast are seeing panicked motorists lining up to fill their tanks and canisters. In some cases, Camilla Domonoske from NPR reportsThe drivers are turned away from the now empty gas pumps. General concern about a shortage has also sparked modest price increases, even though gasoline costs were already starting to rise.

“We have already seen higher gas prices,” said Tiffany Wright, an AAA spokeswoman in the Carolinas, Tuesday.

“They went from three to ten cents overnight,” she added.

Kellie Lesley, who works at a Marietta, SC, grocery store, said the pumps at the gas station were empty.

“We didn’t have anything other than diesel. We were expecting a delivery, but it never showed up. It should have been there at midnight last night,” Lesley said, explaining that customers showed up overnight to refuel after they left the delivery had learned hack on the news. She called it mean and rude.

“Because there are people who go to the doctors and have to take their kids to school, so just get what you need. Don’t hoard it!” She said.

A QuickTrip convenience has bags on its pumps as the Kennesaw, Georgia station runs out of gas on Tuesday. The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about 45% of the fuel consumed on the east coast, shut down last week after uncovering a cyberattack affecting some of its systems. Mike Stewart / AP Hide caption

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Mike Stewart / AP

A QuickTrip convenience has bags on its pumps as the Kennesaw, Georgia station runs out of gas on Tuesday. The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about 45% of the fuel consumed on the east coast, shut down last week after uncovering a cyberattack affecting some of its systems.

Mike Stewart / AP

The Biden administration said Federal agencies respond and urged consumers to keep calm and buy only what they need to reassure the public that the pipeline will soon be back to full capacity.

“We are working around the clock with our federal, state, local and industrial partners to respond to the Colonial Pipeline cybersecurity incident,” said Dave Turk, US assistant secretary of energy said in a video Twitter statement on Tuesday evening.

We’re working around the clock with our federal, state, local and industrial partners to respond to the Colonial Pipeline cybersecurity incident. Clock @ENERGY Deputy Secretary Dave Turk gives an update. ↓ pic.twitter.com/3HnWGt85Jl

– US Department of Energy (@ENERGY) May 11, 2021

The department has said officials are considering moving supplies by train or ship if necessary. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued temporary fuel transport exemptions to increase gasoline supplies

Governors, with the Colonial Pipeline as the main fuel source for many retailers, have declared a state of emergency in response to the ransomware outbreak. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam gave one supreme command Government agencies can issue their own fuel transport exemptions and provide more resources to state and local agencies to ensure adequate fuel supplies. Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, similar Suspended Fuel Regulations to let the gas flow again.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has temporarily suspended gas taxes in his state and lifted weight restrictions on trucks that carry fuel. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in his own executive order that he could activate the state’s National Guard “as needed” to respond to the temporary bottlenecks there. In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster said The fact that a pandemic-related state of emergency already exists means that transport waivers and price agreements are in place to facilitate the delivery of fuel and protect consumers.

Experts say pipeline operations should be back to normal by the end of this week. They also note that gas prices have been rising steadily over the past few weeks, partly due to regular seasonal patterns.

Jack

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