- Gas stations in the Southeast are reporting shortages and skyrocketing prices following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.
- Governors in Florida and Virginia declared gasoline-related states of emergency Tuesday evening.
- Halted operations on the pipeline following a ransomware attack and panic buying are leading to shortages.
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On Tuesday night, governments in two Southern states declared states of emergency as gas shortages spike across the region amid Colonial Pipeline's ongoing shutdown following a ransomware attack this past weekend.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a gasoline-related state of emergency notices as Colonial's halted operations roiled fuel markets and disrupted supply to the East Coast, causing the price of gasoline to jump in several places across the country.
Colonial operates 5,500 miles of a pipeline from Texas to New York and transports nearly half of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, moving more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil, every day.
According to the gas-pricing site GasBuddy, demand was up by a collective 40% Monday in five states served by the pipeline,
In an executive order Tuesday, DeSantis said the disruption of Colonial's operations poses a "significant and immediate threat to the continued delivery of such fuel products to the State of Florida."
-Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) May 11, 2021
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According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the state's gasoline supply is mostly unaffected by the hack, but an uptick in panic buying has led to local shortages, especially in North Florida.
Northam's state of emergency allows local governments to help fund the recovery process and gives state agencies the ability to issue their own waivers.
-Karina Bolster (@KarinaNBC12) May 11, 2021
"Today's emergency declaration helps Virginia prevent and respond to gas shortages across the Commonwealth," Northam said. "With this increased flexibility and funding, we can respond to this evolving situation and ensure access to fuel for Virginia motorists."
Though the Virginia governor said the Commonwealth's current gasoline reserves are "sufficient to address immediate supply concerns," a long-term disruption to the pipeline will require transported fuel into the state via roadways, he said.
Florida and Virginia's state-specific declarations come one day after the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration for 17 states and Washington, DC. The declaration covers Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
An increasing number of gas stations in the region are running out of fuel amid panic buying and surging demand, according to CNN. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told the outlet that the "irrational behavior" could prolong supply issues for weeks.
Operations on segments of the pipeline resumed manually Monday night and US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Colonial anticipates restarting most operations by the end of the week.