Massive gas shortages are affecting the southeast United States while the Colonial Pipeline is down due to a cyberattack.
Gas stations in several states are rapidly running out of gas. As of the writing of this article, the following states are experiencing gas outages:
Many states are experiencing rapidly increasing shortages of fuel. In the metro Atlanta area, 65% of stations are out of gas.
“It’s surprising how quickly the situation has escalated or deteriorated into this,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, to The Hill. “At this point, the hoarding has become the problem, it’s not the Colonial Pipeline.”
“The system’s just not built for this intense, short-lived, exceedingly rare amount of demand,”said De Haan, adding that demand in five states was up by 40 percent by Monday.
“To me, this is like the toilet paper problem,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service. “People observe the behavior and they feel it’s incumbent upon them to load up their tanks.”
The Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45% of the east coast’s fuel, is currently shut down due to a ransomware attack. It is unclear when the pipeline will be back online, but there is some speculation that it will be back online by the end of the week.
De Haan believes that it will take much longer for the supply to return to normal, possibly taking “a few weeks probably at best.”
“I think that it’ll at least be annoying or inconvenient to find gasoline … into next week,” said Kloza. “But really, we’re waiting on Colonial.”
President Biden pledged to increase the cybersecurity of natural gas pipelines, water, and other important sectors. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the administration is considering further insight.
“We cannot continue to limit our pipeline system’s capacity, as was the case with the Keystone XL pipeline, or these types of incidents will only pose more severe consequences in the future,” said Republican Congressmen Sam Graves and Rick Crawford.
“This is not a gasoline shortage,” said Susan Grissom, chief industry analyst for the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. “We have an abundant supply of fuel, refineries are running.”
The federal government has loosened restrictions regarding various regulations regarding gasoline, including waiving air quality rules in 12 states that result in different fuel blends for the summer. Some leaders think this is not enough and that the Jones Act needs to be waived. The Jones Act requires American vessels to move products between American ports.
“We know this action is being considered and we urge the president to move forward on issuing temporary waivers,” said Grissom.
“I think all of those factors will answer the question as to when we’re back to normal,” said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute.
“We’re hopeful that the pipeline is operational soon and that some of the panic-buying retreats a bit and the actions that the administration has taken start to have some impact favorable to the market,” continued Macchiarola