Augusta area residents are starting to feel the pinch, as gas prices are going up, and many stations are running out of fuel. The increase in demand comes on the heels of the Colonial Pipeline service interruption, caused by a cyber attack.

 

That pipeline services about 45 percent of the fuel to the East Coast, and with it temporarily shut down, many locations are having trouble getting enough supply to fill demand. Anecdotally, several people on social media are reporting outages around town, particularly of regular unleaded.

 

Many experts have said there’s very little reason to panic, as the pipeline is expected to be reopened in the coming days, and much of the supply issue is coming from panic demand.

 

When discussing the fuel shortage and outages, Tom Kloza, a veteran analyst with S&P’s Oil Price Information Service states: “A lot of that is because they’re (gas stations) selling three or four times as much gasoline that they normally sell in a given day, because people do panic.” He also adds that Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas are the states that are most dependent on this pipeline.

 

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm says a large part of the pipeline has resumed operation manually as of Monday.  They are reporting Colonial should be able to restart most of its operations by the end of this week.  Granholm said consumers may still feel the effects of the shortage as it will take a few days to ramp up operations.

 

“We know that we have gasoline, we just have to get it to the right places,” Granholm said.

 

According to GasBuddy.com, fuel prices in the Augusta area range from $2.59 to $2.95 a gallon, which is up from the previous week.

 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed an executive order suspending the state’s gas tax through this Saturday, May 15.  Suspending the gas tax should mean a roughly 20 cents per gallon savings for motorists. Industry officials had predicted another 3 to 7 cents a gallon increase in gas prices this week. Kemp asks people not to hoard gas as we expect this to be over soon.

 

While some stations have reported being out of fuel, most are operating as normal.  GasBuddy.com reports only 4% of stations in Georgia had run out of fuel.said.

 

The pipeline was temporarily shut down as a precaution after a ransomware attack was discovered on the Colonial Pipeline network on May 7. The FBI confirmed that it was a malicious attack.

 

“The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks,” FBI officials said in a brief statement. “We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.”