Several Eastern governors have declared a state of emergency due to gas shortages, as the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45 percent of all fuel to the East Coast, remains shut down following a cyberattack over the weekend.
The 5,500-mile pipeline, which transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel a day from Texas to New Jersey, is now in its fifth day of closure.
Long queues and panic buying have flooded gas stations along the Southeast coast. At the moment, nearly 1800 gas stations has run out of gas in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia, according to GasBuddy researcher Patrick DeHaan.
Amongst AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, MD and VA, nearly 1,800 stations are currently out of gasoline.
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 12, 2021
Governors Roy Cooper (D-N.C.), Brian Kemp (R-Ga.), and Ralph Northam (D-Va.) all declared states of emergency on Tuesday, May 11.
“Today, I signed an executive order suspending the gas tax in Georgia to help with higher prices as a result of the Colonial cyberattack. We are working closely with Colonial and expect for them to recover by the end of the week,” Kemp said, adding, “Unfortunately, extensive media coverage has caused people to panic, which has resulted in higher gas prices,” Kemp said in a statement.
Panic-buyers are filling up multiple gas canisters at once in fear of shortages, with memes comparing it to the scramble to buy toilet paper at the start of last year’s coronavirus lockdowns.
Krisi Ennis, who lives in North Carolina but works in South Carolina, said Tuesday that she had seen the news the night before but became concerned when she realized a gas station near her workplace was out of gas.
She said she waited for more than 40 minutes before eventually getting to a pump.
“I got lucky,” she told ABC News.
She said that there were only two gas stations with petrol in her city, and she paid $60 for 17 gallons of gas.
Journalist Alicia Devine shared footage of a “insane” line of cars waiting for gas in the Florida state capital, which was one of the few she found with some.
“I’ve visited five gas stations this morning and the Costco one is the first to have gas,” she wrote.
I’ve visited five gas stations this morning and the Costco one is the first to have gas.
The line is insane. pic.twitter.com/fMfuIMNlJ7
— Alicia Devine, Photojournalist (@alicia_c_devine) May 11, 2021
Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, also shared a video of herself at a crowded gas station in the Sunshine State, assuring citizens that her office was “in close contact with federal and state agencies and the petroleum industry on this situation.”
“But most importantly, don’t panic to buy gas. Don’t hoard gas. And don’t form long lines at gas stations, like behind me,” she said.
❌Don’t panic-buy gas
❌Don’t hoard gas
❌Don’t form long gas station lines
✅Call 800-HELP-FLA if questions pic.twitter.com/KMWWh3BgCq
— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) May 10, 2021
During a briefing on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the Southeast Coast was experiencing a “supply crunch,” rather than a shortage.
“We’re asking people not to hoard.” Granholm added. “We have gasoline. We just have to get it to the right places.”
Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm says that the current gasoline situation is a “supply crunch,” not a “gasoline shortage.” pic.twitter.com/KL6PX9FIqf
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 11, 2021
Colonial Pipeline’s chief executive Joseph Blount alerted state officials in a meeting on Monday that supply shortages could occur during the week as the company and the federal government work to get operations back up and running.
The White House said it was “monitoring supply shortages in parts of the Southeast.”
Colonial Pipeline is investigating and responding to the hacking in collaboration with the federal government.
The Colonial Pipeline recently suffered a ransomware attack which caused it to halt all pipeline operations to deal with the threat.
An FBI report said that a criminal hacker group based in Russia tapped into the Colonial Pipeline Company, the most significant fuel pipeline system in the United States.
“The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of Colonial Pipeline’s networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation,” the bureau said.