An increasing number of gas stations on the East Coast are running out of fuel, as anxious car owners are aggressively filling up their tanks, as a result of the ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline. Experts are predicting that this panic buying could exacerbate the supply shock.
Fuel outages have been reported in gas stations in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, as per GasBuddy, which collects and shares user reports with the government in times of emergencies. Smaller outages that affected less than 1% of the total number of gas stations were reported in Tennessee and Alabama. Patrick De Haan, the Head of Petroleum Analysis at Gas Buddy, warned that this irrational behavior could extend supply issues for a lot longer.
Jennifer Granholm, the Energy Secretary, pleaded with Americans to avoid hoarding gas. “Let me emphasize that much as there was no cause for say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline, especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend,” Granholm said during a recent White House press briefing.
Demand for details on the availability of gasoline was so intense that Gasudddy reported a few outages and slowdowns.
According to AAA, on May 11, the price at the pump increased to $2.985, the highest in almost six years. Investors, fortunately, seem to be taking this recent development in stride.
Emergency steps put in place to ease supply shock
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam reacted to the supply shock by issuing a state of emergency declaration “to prepare and coordinate our response” In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signed an order suspending the gas tax in the state, so drivers could afford the higher prices. Governors of North Carolina and Florida declared a state of emergency.