Two motorists fight at a gas station in North Carolina
Two motorists fight at a gas station in North Carolina

Gas stations across the United States east coast have been experiencing empty gas pumps and excessively long lines.

On Tuesday, theAutomobile Association of America noted that the national average price of regular gas increased to $2.985 per gallon.

But why is this happening?

The Colonial Pipeline is a Georgia-based company that has a pipeline system for oil products in the nation. At 5,500 miles long, it is the largest pipeline system and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Houston,Texas and the New York Harbor.

On Friday, the company shut down due to a ransomware attack by hackers.

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Ransomware attacks are when hackers break into a company’s computer system, freeze the operations, and encrypt data. Then payment is requested by the hackers to the company to release control.

The FBI ended up confirming DarkSide, a professional group of criminals, as the culprits in this attack. Reuters reported that the group said their goal was solely money, not drama. 

If the company remains closed, fuel availability will decrease, causing gasoline and jet fuel costs to increase as the economy steadily “recovers from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.”

As of Tuesday evening, 8.6 per cent of Virginia gas stations ran out of gasoline and 12.3 per cent of gas stations in North Carolina, per CNN’s analysis of fuel price app, GasBuddy.

Other states such as South Carolina, Florida, and South Carolina, even took matters into their own hands by keeping gasoline in plastic bags.

Both Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper have declared “states of emergency.” Gov. Kemp even issued an executive order to suspend the state’s gas tax to help combat the higher gas prices.

Certainly, the general public has shared videos and photos from the country, highlighting the long lines, experiences, and instances of people getting into arguments over this. Check it out below.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm spoke in a press conference about the gas shortages from the pipeline attack. She notes that there “will be no tolerance for price gouging” from gas store owners amid the supply shortage.

“Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint and actions taken by several Governors to lift weight restrictions on tanker trucks should help alleviate local supply disruptions,” a recent statement from Colonial Pipeline reads, in part.

The company also states that they will continue to release updates while focusing on “the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.”

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