Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in response to a cyberattack that shut down a major pipeline and left more than 1,000 gas stations in several states – including Florida – without fuel.
DeSantis’ statement activates the Florida National Guard when necessary and directs state emergency management officials to work with federal and local officials.
The Colonial Pipeline – the largest fuel pipeline in the country – supplies about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast.
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Among the states affected by gas shortages, Florida was the least affected. Most of Central Florida’s fuel comes from refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The fuel shortage will have its biggest impact on the Panhandle as it derives most of its gas supply from Georgia, which serves the Colonial Pipeline, FOX 13 of Tampa Bay reported.
COLONIAL PIPELINE PANIC WITH PURCHASE, LEAVING OVER 1000 GAS STATIONS IN SEVERAL STATES WITHOUT FUEL
Nonetheless, drivers in Florida and neighboring states have flocked to the pumps, creating what analysts see as unwarranted panic buying among drivers.
Mark Jenkins, an AAA spokesperson, told First Coast News that the pump rush is driven by fear and is creating an unnecessary gasoline shortage.
“People hear the news of this pipeline failure and they’re rushing to the pump,” Jenkins said. “There is a shortage in different states, but what is happening now is that drivers are creating the shortage out of fear. ”
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DeSantis’ Executive Order remains in effect until the Colonial Pipeline is fully restored. Much of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial plans to restart most of its operations by the end of the week, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.