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More than 1,000 gas stations in eastern US states ran out of gasoline after a cyberattack knocked out a crucial US pipeline which supplies much of the region’s gasoline.
Price rises and panic-buying followed the news, which led to widespread shortages as operators struggled to move fuel supplies without the out-of-action Colonial Pipeline.
According to the app GasBuddy, as of early Wednesday the worst-hit states were North Carolina, where 24.8% of stations were out of gas, Georgia, where 15.4% were empty, and Virginia, where 15% had run out.
There were acute shortages in Atlanta, where almost 60% of stations were out of gas Wednesday morning, and Charlotte, where the figure was 71%.
The extent of the shortages had worsened since the previous night. The figures were tweeted by Patrick De Haan, a petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.
GASOLINE OUTAGES as of 6am CT… percent of all stations in state without gasoline:
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 12, 2021
Citing data from S&P’s Oil Price Information Service, The Associated Press reported that at least 1,000 gas stations had run out of gasoline by Tuesday.
People told CBS News that at some gas stations in South Carolina lines were more than an hour long.
Some motorists recorded long lines snaking out of gas stations.
Several gas stations in #Charlotte have long lines or are out of fuel after the ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline.
— Estephany Escobar (@EstephanyNews) May 11, 2021
You’ll see long lines for gas at Costco on Wake Forest Road. The line is spilling onto Six Forks Rd. Several gas stations in the Triangle are out of gas. This comes just days after the Colonial pipeline cyberattack.
— Joseph Holloway (@jhollowaynews) May 11, 2021
The crunch in fuel supply was caused by a ransomware attack on Friday that forced the closure of part of the Colonial Pipeline. The 5,500-mile network supplies about 45% of the East Coast’s fuel.
The Biden administration has said the pipeline will be working again in the next few days, and has urged Americans not to stockpile fuel.
“We are asking people not to hoard,” US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters at the White House. “Things will be back to normal soon.”
Colonial in a statement said it hopes to re-open the pipeline by Friday. It has taken a delivery of an extra 2 million barrels in fuel to deploy when the pipeline is opened, reported Reuters.
The shortage has seen prices for unleaded gas rise to an average of $2.99 a gallon, the highest since 2014, The American Automobile Association said.
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