rain.png
Tuesday June 22nd, 2021 8:00AM

Scramble on for new fuel routes after Colonial Pipeline hack

By The Associated Press

CLEMMONS, N.C. (AP) — Drivers waited in long lines at gas stations in the Southeast on Wednesday after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations.

There is no gasoline shortage, according to government officials and energy analysts. But there is a problem getting the fuel from refineries on the Gulf Coast to the states that need it, and officials are scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver that fuel.

If the pipeline shutdown extends past the weekend, it could create broader fuel disruptions.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The attack raised concerns, once again, about the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The pipeline runs from the Gulf Coast to the New York metropolitan region, but states in the Southeast are more reliant on the pipeline. Other parts of the country have more sources to tap. For example, a substantial amount of fuel is delivered to states in the Northeast by massive tankers.

“What you’re feeling is not a lack of supply or a supply issue. What we have is a transportation issue,” said Jeanette McGee, spokeswoman for the AAA auto club. “There is ample supply to fuel the United States for the summer, but what we’re having an issue with is getting it to those gas stations because the pipeline is down.”

Jamar Gatison, 36, was filling up his tank in Norfolk, Virginia, Wednesday before a doctor’s appointment.

“I’m about to run out of gas, so I have no choice,” the construction worker said while waiting in line at a 7-Eleven. “I’m also an Uber Eats driver. I also need gas for that,” Gatison said, adding that he probably won’t deliver food Wednesday night because he doesn’t want to wait in line again while the shortage continues.

In North Carolina, 65% of gas stations were out of fuel, according to Gasbuddy.com, a technology firm that tracks real-time fuel prices across the country. Just outside Raleigh, two people were charged with assault after fighting and spitting in each other’s faces while arguing over their spots in line Tuesday at a Marathon gas station, authorities said.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper urged people Wednesday to only buy gas if their tank is low, and to report any instances of price gouging.

“We will continue our efforts to help make sure there is an adequate supply of fuel,” Cooper wrote on Twitter.

Georgians were also getting squeezed, with 43% of stations there out of gas, according to Gasbuddy.com. In Virginia, 44% of stations were out, and in South Carolina, 16% had no fuel.

Along the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine through some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the southeast U.S., hikers depend on car and van shuttles to ferry them to and from the trail and get them back to civilization.

“If I don’t have the gas, I’m not running,” said Ron Brown of Ellijay, Georgia, who operates Ron’s Appalachian Trail Shuttles and often takes hikers on hourslong trips from Atlanta’s airport into the north Georgia mountains and to and from many points along the trail.

Mary Goldburg, 60, of Norfolk, Virginia, waited more than 20 minutes for a slow-operating pump at a 7-Eleven to fill up her tank on Wednesday. Her job includes delivering t-shirts for events and other promotional products.

“I can’t get paid until my customers get their products,” Goldburg said. “And then I can bill them for it. And then I get paid after that.”

Government officials have said Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week. However, the disruption is taking place at the time of year when Americans begin to become more mobile, especially as the nation emerges from the pandemic.

Four to five cars were lined up at each pump at a Circle K in Clemmons, North Carolina. Several people said they had driven to multiple gas stations to find one that had gas. Across the street, gas stations were out of fuel.

Mair Martinez, who works in landscaping, was filling up his lawn equipment and truck after checking several other gas stations without luck.

“I’m a local landscaper, so that’s why we’ve come in today, to fill up everything. We need to do something tomorrow, and everybody needs some gas right now,” he said.

Johnathan King, who works for an area towing company, was filling up his tow truck. He said he typically does 10 to 12 service calls a day, driving between several area cities.

“It’s going to be very hard for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to get through it,” he said.

Multiple U.S. agencies are coordinating to relax rules and enable fuel to be shipped faster using trucks, trains or ships, but those changes are having little impact so far.

The White House said Wednesday that the Department of Transportation is now allowing states served by the pipeline to use interstate highways to transport overweight loads of gasoline and other fuels. But there’s a national trucker shortage, so the industry isn’t able to put many more trucks on the road.

There are about 121,000 convenience stores which sell about 5,300 gallons per day of gasoline, accounting for about 80% of retail fuel sales. Most truck deliveries bring 8,000 gallons of fuel, but at many stores demand has been two to five times the normal amount, said Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores, in a conference call with reporters.

Rationing has been imposed after some natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but there could be resistance to it this time, especially if it looks like the pipeline could return to normal operation in a few days.

It could also backfire. “Once rationing occurs, more panic buying ensues,” said Ryan McNutt, CEO of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline ticked above $3 for the first time since 2016 Wednesday, according to the AAA. Prices begin to rise around this time every year and the auto club said Wednesday that the average price hit $3.008 nationally.

“You go to some states, and you’re going to see much higher increases, especially in the South, because that’s where you’re seeing the largest impact in terms of strain of gasoline, or strain of people,” McGee said.

___

Bussewitz reported from New York and Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia. Associated Press Writers Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia, David Koenig in Dallas and Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Scramble on for new fuel routes after Colonial Pipeline hack
State and federal officials are scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver gasoline in the Southeast U.S. after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to panic-buying that contributed to more than 1,000 gas stations running out of fuel
10:22AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Performance artist Marina Abramovic wins Spanish arts prize
A Spanish foundation has awarded Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic one of the European nation’s most prestigious awards for the fine arts
10:22AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Florida man charged with killing toddler's missing mother
A Florida man now faces a second-degree murder charge in the case of a missing woman whose toddler was found wandering alone in a parking lot last July
10:19AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UK's Johnson urged to bring forward inquiry into pandemic
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that an independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic will start hearing evidence next year
9:59AM ( 35 minutes ago )
The Latest: Japan leader pushes Olympics despite few shots
A newspaper ad in Japan has condemned the government for forcing people to endure the pandemic without vaccines
9:57AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Stocks open lower, bond yields rise after inflation report
Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street and bond yields are rising as investors reacted to a bigger-than-expected increase in inflation last month
9:44AM ( 50 minutes ago )
AP Business
Judge asked to OK evidence of Ahmaud Arbery's past troubles
Attorneys for two Georgia men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery are requesting a judge's approval to use unflattering evidence from the slain man's past
1:08AM ( 9 hours ago )
Guerrero homers, Blue Jays rally past indecisive Braves 5-3
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered and drove in three runs and the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of Atlanta’s indecisive fielding in the eighth inning, rallying past the Braves 5-3
11:32PM ( 11 hours ago )
Suit: Workers lured from India paid $1.20 per hour for years
A lawsuit says workers from marginalized communities in India were lured to New Jersey and forced to work more than 12 hours per day at ultra-low wages to help build a Hindu temple
10:22PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
The Latest: Britain's Johnson says virus inquiry next year
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic will be held next year
7:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Germany drops testing requirement for vaccinated
The German government has agreed to let travelers who have been vaccinated or recovered from a COVID-19 infection avoid testing and quarantine
6:59AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Red Cross says virus cases exploding in Asia
The International Federation of the Red Cross says coronavirus cases have exploded in Asia in the past fortnight with over 5.9 million new infections
4:35AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
EPA sets grants to restore 'brownfields' at blighted sites
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced more than $66 million in grants to 151 communities nationwide to assess and clean up contaminated or abandoned “brownfields."
6:08PM ( 16 hours ago )
Kemp waives Georgia gas tax for now due to pipeline outage
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says he's suspending state taxes on motor fuels through Saturday to offset increasing prices after a computer hack shut down a pipeline that carries fuel to much of Georgia
3:22PM ( 19 hours ago )
Offshore wind project seen as key to clean energy gets OK
An offshore wind project off Massachusetts that would create 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400,000 homes, was approved by the federal government
2:45PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Performance artist Marina Abramovic wins Spanish arts prize
A Spanish foundation has awarded Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic one of the European nation’s most prestigious awards for the fine arts
10:22AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Florida man charged with killing toddler's missing mother
A Florida man now faces a second-degree murder charge in the case of a missing woman whose toddler was found wandering alone in a parking lot last July
10:19AM ( 15 minutes ago )
House GOP ousts Trump critic Liz Cheney from top post
House Republicans have ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader, punishing her after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack
10:18AM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Hamas confirms Israel killed senior commander
Palestinian militant group Hamas has confirmed that its Gaza City commander was killed in an Israeli airstrike
10:14AM ( 20 minutes ago )
UK economy showed resilience ahead of big lockdown easing
Official figures show that the British economy contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021, a relatively modest contraction given that the country was in the midst of a strict lockdown to combat a second wave of the coronavirus
10:13AM ( 21 minutes ago )