Long lines continued to appear at many gas stations on Tuesday, especially in the southeast. Many were short of gasoline. And some were driving up prices.
S & P’s oil price information service said more than 1,000 stations were experiencing shortages, the Associated Press reported. “A big part of that is because they sell three or four times as much gasoline as they normally sell on a given day, because people are freaking out. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, ”S&P analyst Tom Klouza told the AP.
It all started after a ransomware attack targeted the pipeline on Friday, forcing the company to shut it down. The FBI said a hacking group known as Darkside, believed to be based in Russia, was behind it.
The 5,500-mile pipeline provides 45% of the East Coast’s fuel. Shortages have been reported in at least 7 states.
Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia have declared states of emergency.
American Airlines said it was adding stops to some long-haul flights so planes can refuel.
At a gas station in Peachtree Corners, Ga., Annelise Onorato said, “I think we’re going to go on a wild goose chase. “
Danielle Charles in Pensacola, Florida said the situation was “worse than a hurricane”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stressed that “it’s not that we have a shortage of gasoline – it’s that we have a shortage of supply, and things will soon be back to normal.”
The energy department has waived certain environmental and safety rules to speed up fuel deliveries.
Steve Ray, of Midnite Oil and Tires in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said, “We ended can sales today. People would come and try to buy five and ten cans of gasoline, they just pile them up. “
Morgan Dean of the AAA noted that “the panic buying of gas right now will create this artificial demand which will make it all worse.”
Federal officials say they have no tolerance for price gouging, but a Virginia gas station was charging $ 6.99 a gallon, according to CBS affiliate there, WTVR-TV.
For some people, the rush to buy fuel brought back memories of stockpiles of supplies at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.