The fear of a potential gas shortage is impacting drivers in several Southeast states after the Colonial Pipeline in Texas was hacked in a cyber-attack last week.
The restart of pipeline operations was initiated late Wednesday. Colonial said in a statement that all lines will return to normal operations, but that it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal.
Gas stations in the Southeast saw long lines due to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of stations.
According to GasBuddy.com, the average gas price in Lousiana at currently at $2.67 a gallon. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of gas ticked above $3 for the first time since 2016, though the AAA says prices begin to rise around this time each year.
“You go to some states, and you’re going to see much higher increases, especially in the South, because that’s where you’re seeing the largest impact in terms of strain of gasoline, or strain of people,” said Jeanette McGee, spokeswoman for the AAA auto club.
We spoke with customers at the pump in Morgan City about their experience trying to fill their tank.
"Two of the stations I went to are bagged because they ran out of gas," said Jennifer Mallet. "It's because people are panicking and they are not realizing that it's going to change soon. But they're going to do what they have to do."
Kerry Richard added, "No, I don't think it's critical. Maybe in the northern states, possibly. But here, we'll take the gas out of our boat and put it in our truck."
The Colonial Pipeline runs from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro region, but states in the Southeast are more reliant on it. It delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.
“What you’re feeling is not a lack of supply or a supply issue. What we have is a transportation issue,” explained McGee. “There is ample supply to fuel the United States for the summer, but what we’re having is an issue with is getting it to those gas stations” because the pipeline is down.
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