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GasBuddy: What you need to know about the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack & gas prices

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 12:12 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Colonial Pipeline that transports gasoline through ten states, including Alabama, could be back online by the end of the week.

The Colonial Pipeline company, based in Georgia, said Saturday that it was hit by a ransomware attack and halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat. The cyberattack is causing concerns that supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel could be disrupted in parts of the East Coast if the disruption continues.

The Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45% of the supply of gasoline to the Southeast.

Governor Ivey said Tuesday she spoke with the U.S. Department of Energy on a call regarding the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack. She was assured that the pipeline should be operational in a few days. She is urging Alabamians and others to not panic and to use good judgement. Ivey’s spokeswoman said, “A shortage has not reached Alabama at this time, and she reminds us that an overreaction would only lead to that. Be courteous, only fill up if you need to, and do not fill up multiple containers. Governor Ivey urges patience and common sense.”

From GasBuddy:

FIRST OF ALL, THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO PANIC.

Panic buying or hoarding of gasoline will prolong outages and price spikes, making them much worse. It is true that if the pipeline remains out of service into the early part of next week, roughly Tuesday or so, that some gas stations may run low on gasoline. Tank farms that take the gasoline from the pipeline are likely starting to see supply run low, so it is vital that motorists do not overwhelm the system by filling their tanks.

WHICH STATES ARE AFFECTED?

These challenges may start to manifest in Southeastern states, especially Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama, and to a lesser extent, Northern Florida. These are all markets served by the Colonial Pipeline, one of the nation’s most critical pipelines for refined oil products.

WILL GAS PRICES INCREASE?

The longer the problem continues, the more it will likely affect motorists in the aforementioned states. Once the pipeline restarts, it will take days for normal conditions to occur. If motorists hoard gasoline, the problem may stretch for several weeks with continued outages and further pricing impacts. It’s very difficult to pin the exact amount prices may rise, but for now, it appears to be a few cents per gallon, possibly growing more significant if the pipeline remains shut down for more than 2-3 more days.

As of Monday, May 10, the average gas price in Alabama was $2.68.

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