Gas stations along the U.S. East Coast are beginning to run out of fuel as North America’s biggest petroleum pipeline races to recover from
From Virginia to Florida and Alabama, stations are reporting that they’ve sold out of gasoline as supplies in the region dwindle and panic buying sets in. An estimated 7% of gas stations in Virginia were out of fuel as of late Monday, according to GasBuddy analyst
The White House said in a statement it is monitoring the situation and directing government agencies to help alleviate any shortages.
The Colonial pipeline has been shut down since late Friday. On Monday, the
Colonial Chief Executive Officer
The dwindling supplies come just as the nation’s energy industry was preparing to meet stronger fuel demand from summer travel. Americans are once again commuting to the office and booking flights after a year of restrictions. Depending on the duration of the disruption, retail prices could spike, further stoking fears of inflation as
The U.S. East Coast is losing around
In Asheville, North Carolina, Aubrey Clements, a clerk at an Exxon Mobil station answered the phone with “Hello, I’m currently out of gas.” The Marathon gas station in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, had roughly two dozen cars waiting to fuel up, said an employee there. Drivers pulling into a station with a sign offering unleaded gasoline for $2.649 per gallon in Manning, South Carolina, were met with pumps covered in yellow and red “out of service” bags.
Shortages are also hitting the aviation industry, forcing American Airlines Group Inc. to add
In an 18-minute virtual meeting, Blount said Colonial is working with refiners, marketers and retailers to prevent shortages, according to a person involved with the meeting who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the discussion. The pipeline serves 90 U.S. military installations and 26 oil refineries, the person said.
The shutdown has prompted frenzied moves by traders and retailers to secure alternative supplies. Oil tanker charter rates
Emergency shipments of gasoline and diesel from Texas are already on the way to Atlanta and other southeastern cities via trucks, and at least two
The national average retail gasoline price rose to $2.967 a gallon on Monday, a 2.4% increase from Friday, according to AAA. The
Gasoline futures that initially surged as much as 4.2% earlier this week have since declined. Futures prices had gained more than 50% this year, helped by the recovery from the pandemic.
The event is just the latest example of critical infrastructure being targeted by ransomware. Hackers are increasingly attempting to infiltrate essential services such as electric grids and hospitals. The escalating threats prompted the White House to respond last month with a plan to increase security at utilities and their suppliers. Pipelines are a specific concern because of the central role they play in the U.S. economy.
Ransomware cases involve hackers seeding networks with malicious software that encrypts the data and leaves the machines locked until the victims pay the extortion fee. This would be the biggest attack of its kind on a U.S. fuel pipeline.
DarkSide said in a
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort right now,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary
The White House
Some rules curbing domestic transportation of fuel
The Northeast can secure gasoline shipments from Europe but it will come at an increasing cost the longer the pipeline stays shut. In the meantime, fuel producers including Marathon Petroleum Corp. are weighing alternatives for how to ship their products to the Northeast.
Landlocked cities face the greatest danger of fuel shortages compared with those with access to water-borne deliveries, said Steve Boyd, senior managing director at Houston-based distributor Sun Coast Resources Inc. If the pipeline remains down for many more days, he’s anticipating a “massive surge” in orders.
(Adds Virginia situation in second paragraph)
--With assistance from
Jeff Sutherland, Anna Kitanaka
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