Gasoline shortages continue to plague much of the East Coast, leaving the majority of stations in Washington, DC, without fuel.
Supplies for thousands of gas stations in dozens of southern states have been depleted after a cyber attack forced the country’s largest gas pipeline to shut down earlier this month. The Vital Pipeline, operated by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, supplies approximately 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.
As of Sunday evening, around 12,466 stations were empty, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.
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In its last update around 8 p.m. PT, De Haan said nearly 90% of gas stations in the nation’s capital were dry. Over the weekend, the number of gas stations suffering outages fluctuated between 69% and 88%, according to De Haan data posted on Twitter.
Meanwhile, nearly 60% of stations in North Carolina were out of fuel and about half of gas stations in South Carolina were out of gas on Sunday night. In Georgia, about 43% of stations were out of gas.
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A cyber attack forced the pipeline’s computer systems to lock down on May 7. Hackers did not take control of pipeline operations, but Colonial shut it down to prevent malware from impacting its industrial control systems.
The disruption created long lines at gas stations in the southeast due to distribution issues and purchasing panic, draining supplies to thousands of gas stations.
Several sources confirmed that the company paid the criminals a ransom of nearly $ 5 million in cryptocurrency for the software decryption key needed to decrypt their data network.
Last week, operations had restarted and gasoline deliveries were underway to all of its markets, but the company warns that it would take “several days” to return to normal.
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The pipeline runs from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area, but the southeastern states are more dependent on it. Other parts of the country have more sources to tap into. For example, a significant amount of fuel is delivered to the northeastern states by massive tankers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.