On Tuesday, the White House asked Americans not to hoard gas following a “supply crunch” caused by the Colonial Pipeline shut down.
The pipeline, a major supplier of fuel to the Southeast, remained primarily shut down for a fifth day after being hit by a ransomware attack by hackers on Friday. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters at a White House press briefing that several southern states would experience a “supply crunch” but probably not a “gasoline shortage.” She reiterated there is no need to panic buy and hoard fuel.
“Much as there was no cause for 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 the week and over the weekend,” Granholm said.
GasBuddy, a price and fuel tracker, said data shows fuel demand has increased more than 30 percent in the East in the past week. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 37 percent of gas stations were out of fuel. And in metro Atlanta, roughly 40 percent of gas stations were out of fuel. More than 50 percent in metro Raleigh, North Carolina, reported outages, and more than 60 percent of gas stations in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Colonial Pipeline is expected to decide by the end of the day on Wednesday whether or not to restart the pipeline fully. Once it is restarted, it will take a few days to get back to normal production levels.