Potential Run On Gas In U.S., Prices Expected To Skyrocket From Pipeline Cyber Attack

Potential Run On Gas In U.S., Prices Expected To Skyrocket From Pipeline Cyber Attack


Caption: A man leaves a Murrphy Oil gas station as pumps are seen out of gas, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Kennesaw, Ga. Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, halted operations last week after revealing a cyberattack that it said had affected some of its systems.(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

A ransomware cyberattack on a major pipeline in the U.S. energy infrastructure has disrupted the flow of gas in the Southeastern U.S. and caused gas shortages, higher prices, and long lines at gas stations.

The U.S. government has blamed Russian hackers who call themselves “DarkSide” for the attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which began May 6 and ended May 7.

Running 5,500 miles, the Colonial Pipeline is the largest system for refined oil products in the U.S. It can carry more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily between Texas and New York and is operated by Alpharetta, Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Company. The goal is to “substantially” restore service by the end of the week, USA Today reported.

The pipeline carries about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The damage has already been done.  More than 1,000 gas stations across the Southeast ran out of gas on May 11 as motorists spurred a surge of panic buyingThe New York Post reported.

“Lines around the block to get gas at Costco. There’s a run on the bank happening whether it’s justified or not,” Bloomberg columnist Conor Sen @conorsen tweeted.

“Great, this will further serve as proof we need to rely more on EV Vehicles,” Kamatsu @DarkWebWarrior replied. “the Biden Green initiative should be even more Popular now that Trumps Buddies the Russians have disrupted a Major US Pipeline and our Gasoline supply.. Trump thanks you Putin..”

“Shows just how fragile the supply chains are, couple of hackers in Russia cripple the coast in a day”, wrote oznoz2007 @oznoz2007.

North Carolina saw about 8.5 percent of its 5,400 stations out of gas, while Virginia reported 7.7 percent of about 3,900 gas stations were affected, according to the app GasBuddy. One of the hardest-hit states was Georgia, where more than 20 percent of gas stations in metro Atlanta ran out of gas.

Many officials said panic is causing the gas shortage, not necessarily the attack.

Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson said the state will not run out of fuel, but some stations may have empty tanks due to a run by drivers. 

“That’s not due to the disruption,” Gipson told ABC affiliate WAPT. “That’s due to unnecessary panic.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency due to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. The closure could cause a severe threat to Florida, he said, and required immediate resources to protect the continued delivery of fuel products to the state. The executive order will expire in 30 days from May 11, unless DeSantis extends it, ABC Action News reported.

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