The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline is sending hundreds to fill up their tanks at gas stations. Gas costs are above $3, and a few stations are working out or low on gas. The Colonial Pipeline stretches from Texas to New Jersey and provides virtually half of the East Coast’s gas.
The pipeline shut down after a cyberattack, however the gas firm “initiated the restart of pipeline operations” on Wednesday. However, the Colonial Pipeline Co. added “it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal” and absolutely replenish provides.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday tweeted that the restart had begun.
Earlier on Wednesday, Colonial Pipeline stated it hoped to “substantially” restore service by the end of the week.
USA TODAY answered shoppers’ prime questions surrounding the gas shutdown.
- Which states are affected?
- What occurred?
- Could one other hack or shutdown occur?
- What’s being completed?
- Should I stock up on gas?
- How can I safely retailer gas?
- Is it secure to take a highway journey?
- Why aren’t gas stations limiting how a lot individuals can purchase?
- Is there a gas shortage or overreaction?
- Where can I discover gas?
Which states are affected?
Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia could also be extra closely affected as a result of they’ve restricted choices by way of gas transportation alternate options.
The Colonial Pipeline system delivers about 45% of the fuel for the East Coast, together with gasoline and jet gas. Gulf Coast states can rely extra simply on shipments from tankers.
The FBI stated an online gang referred to as DarkSide struck the Colonial Pipeline system with a ransomware assault, which takes computerized programs hostage till a fee is made.
“We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation,” the FBI stated.
Further particulars on the hack have not been launched.
Could one other hack or shutdown occur?
Yes, one other shutdown or cyberattack is feasible.
GasBuddy analyst Patrick de Haan stated this assault leaves the business “vulnerable” to others. Oil Price Information Service analyst Tom Kloza stated it is a “wake-up call” for the vitality business. “Imagine if it was one of the power companies,” he stated.
What’s being completed?
As of Wednesday morning, the Colonial Pipeline had delivered roughly 41 million gallons to numerous supply factors, together with Atlanta; Belton and Spartanburg, South Carolina; Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina; Baltimore; and Woodbury and Linden, New Jersey, according to Colonial’s website. As the system prepares to restart, Colonial has 84 million gallons from refineries prepared for deployment.
Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order suspending state taxes on gas. The governors of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency.
To help the supply chain, affected states are allowed to use interstate highways to transport obese a great deal of gasoline and different fuels, beneath catastrophe declarations.
Should I stock up on gas?
Jeff Lenard, vice chairman of strategic business initiatives on the National Association of Convenience Stores, stated Americans can purchase their gas as they’d on every other “normal” day.
“This is the worst panic buying for gasoline since the Carter administration,” Kloza stated.
He stated outages at greater than 10,000 gas stations are spreading “like a bad rash” on the East Coast.
GasBuddy knowledge confirmed U.S. gasoline demand surged 20% Monday in contrast with the earlier Monday, stated Allison Mac, petroleum analyst at fuel-savings app GasBuddy.
How can I safely retailer gas?
Here’s steering from Exxon Mobile:
- Store the gasoline in an accredited gas can or tank that is 5 gallons or much less. Don’t fill containers all the best way, so there’s room for the gas to develop.
- Keep containers tightly sealed, and use warning dealing with them to keep away from spilling gas.
- Store gasoline at room temperature, and maintain it away from warmth sources such because the solar or a furnace.
- Store gasoline in a indifferent shed or storage, not less than 50 toes away from ignition sources reminiscent of pilot lights.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning to not fill plastic luggage with gasoline.
“We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate, they stop thinking clearly. They take risks that can have deadly consequences. If you know someone who is thinking about bringing a container not meant for fuel to get gas, please let them know it’s dangerous,” the USCPSC tweeted.
Is it secure to take a highway journey?
Rob Underwood, president of Energy Marketers of America, stated not to panic when scheduling holidays. As lengthy as panic shopping for subsides, Underwood predicted, the provision chain – and gas costs – would stabilize.
“With the end of panic buying, we can all go about our regular schedules and plans. Once your tank is full, you can’t get any fuller or safe than that in your tank,” Lenard stated.
Lenard stated Memorial Day weekend is three weeks away, and the pipeline ought to be up and working earlier than then.
Why aren’t gas stations limiting how a lot individuals can purchase?
Rationing of gas portions was final seen in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy. Lenard stated rationing is normally applied after a chronic interval of shortages, which is not the present case.
“There’s a lot of tension at the gas stations now; it’s even a struggle to regulate masks at stations. So rationing isn’t under consideration right now,” Lenard stated. “People just need to use common sense, it’s not the time to buy gas in bulk.”
Underwood stated that in some circumstances, rationing gas will increase panic shopping for.
Is there a gas shortage or overreaction?
Susan Grissom, chief business analyst at American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and Lenard stated there’s not a gas shortage however a disruption within the provide chain. Grissom stated that though there’s an abundance of gas, there are challenges in how to ship it throughout the East Coast amid the Colonial Pipeline’s disruption.
“It takes time to regroup massive quantities of product and efficiently make deliveries to more remote areas that are supplied by the Colonial; figuring out the time and logistics takes some time,” Grissom stated.
Where can I discover gas?
The GasBuddy app contains a gas availability tracker that tells customers which stations don’t have any gas, no gas or no energy. The tracker is crowdsourced, and motorists are inspired to report stations out of gas or gas. On Wednesday, the app skilled a temporary shutdown of its own.
“We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version,” learn a message on the positioning.
The message was eliminated Wednesday afternoon.
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda