Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:03PM

Pipeline hack sends people scrambling for fuel in the South

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CLEMMONS, N.C. (AP) — A run on gas following a computer hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline had North Carolina tow-truck driver Jonathan King worried about whether he could do his job.

“I drive all over the place,” King said at a packed gas station outside Winston-Salem on Wednesday. “It gets really busy. And yeah, with the fuel going the way it’s going, it’s going to be very hard for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to get through it.”

The cybersecurity attack on the Colonial Pipeline has prompted fuel-hoarding and panic-buying in parts of the Southeastern U.S., striking fear and stress among those who've waited in long lines for gas. And while Colonial initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday, the company said it will take several days for deliveries to return to normal.

The scene at gas stations was far from typical Wednesday after governors of both North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency to help ensure supply and access to gas.

As people in the region emerge from the lockdowns and limitations of the coronavirus pandemic, some feared the prospect of lost wages and missed doctors appointments. They also worried about canceling plans with family members who they were only beginning to see again.

Mary Goldburg, 60, of Norfolk, Virginia, said she needs her car for work but also to see her grandchildren — whom she barely got to see last year. Her job includes delivering T-shirts for events and other promotional products.

“I can’t get paid until my customers get their products,” said Goldburg as a slow-operating pump filled her tank for more than 20 minutes at a 7-Eleven.

Construction worker Jamar Gatison, 36, was also filling up his tank there Wednesday before he had a doctor’s appointment.

“I’m about to run out of gas, so I have no choice,” Gatison said, adding that he is also is an Uber Eats driver but wasn't planning on delivering food that night because he didn't want to wait in line again.

Restaurants and bars, which are already struggling to fill job openings, will find themselves particularly squeezed, said Robert McNab, an economics professor at Virginia’s Old Dominion University. Some workers may not be able to come to work. And some customers may abandon plans to eat out.

“In all likelihood, these service workers will be impacted most significantly, with rising fuel and food prices eating a larger part of their household budgets and income being reduced this month by the fear-induced shortage of gasoline,” McNab said.

The Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. There is no gasoline shortage, according to government officials and energy analysts. But there has been a problem getting the fuel from refineries on the Gulf Coast to the states that need it, and officials have been scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver that fuel.

The distribution problems and panic-buying have been draining supplies at thousands of gas stations. On Wednesday, four to five cars were lined up at each pump at a Circle K in Clemmons, North Carolina, a community southwest of Winston-Salem along I-40.

Detlef Badorrek said he drove to four gas stations before he found one where he could fill up his car. He expressed concern that motorists may become a little more unnerved as the situation extends itself.

“I sense things could go a little bit more desperately as time goes by. So far, it’s reasonable,” he said.

But not for everyone, apparently. Two people were charged with assault after a fight over spots in a line at a Marathon gas station in Knightdale, outside Raleigh, on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The man and woman arguing over spots each spat in the other’s face before the fight turned physical and a cellphone was damaged, police said.

Video posted on Instagram shows two cars bumped up against each other at a gas station. The woman was charged with simple assault and the man was charged with assault on a female and damage to personal property, police said. Both were cited and released with a pending court date.

In Walton County, Georgia, paramedic Jeff Lisle had just under a quarter-tank of gas in his Jeep — but no one knew of any stations near his house that had gas. So, he went to his garage and found a small amount in the cans he uses for his lawnmower in case he needed the extra boost to make it to work.

As for the ambulances he works in, “we have to buy fuel at gas stations like everybody else does,” he said. That means that whenever possible, the ambulances have been stopping to refuel when they’re lucky enough to drive past a station with gas.

Along the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, hikers depend on car and van shuttles to access the trail and get supplies.

“Everybody’s out here buying from the same gas pumps, so the lines are long, some are out -- you’ve really got to look for it,” said Ron Brown, who operates Ron’s Appalachian Trail Shuttles and often takes hikers from Atlanta’s airport into the north Georgia mountains..

But he said that hikers are resourceful enough to get where they need to go.

“It will get rectified because it’s a big deal, and everybody needs gas,” he said. “We’ll just make due until it does.”


Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia. Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia.

  • 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 Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US cities see surge in deadly street racing amid pandemic
Across America, illegal drag racing has surged in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic began
1:14AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Pipeline hack sends people scrambling for fuel in the South
The cybersecurity attack on the Colonial Pipeline has stricken fear and stress into the lives of people in the Southeastern U.S. who have been waiting in long lines amid distribution problems and panic-buying
1:01AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Biden team moves swiftly to tackle pipeline political peril
The Biden administration swung aggressively into action after a primary gasoline pipeline fell prey to a cyberattack
12:34AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Asian stocks follow Wall St lower as inflation worries mount
Asian stocks have fallen for a second day, following Wall Street lower as worries about inflation mount
11:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ohio's million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has unrolled incentives including a weekly $1 million lottery prize and drawings for college scholarships to encourage people to get vaccinated
9:50PM ( 3 hours ago )
Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack
The nation’s largest fuel pipeline restarted operations, days after it was forced to shut down by a gang of hackers
9:41PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Young rallies Hawks to playoff berth, 120-116 over Wizards
Trae Young scored 33 points and John Collins hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds remaining to rally Atlanta to a 120-116 victory over the Washington Wizards to clinch the Hawks’ first playoff berth since 2017
11:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hernández 2 HRs as Ryu, Blue Jays improve to 5-0 vs Braves
Teoscar Hernández hit two homers and drove in three runs, Hyun Jin Ryu pitched seven sharp innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Atlanta 4-1 to continue their dominance of the Braves
10:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Drivers scrambling for fuel as hacked pipeline restarts
Drivers are waiting in long lines at gas stations in the Southeast after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to distribution problems and panic-buying, draining supplies at thousands of gas stations
5:58PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Biden saw political peril, opportunity in pipeline shutdown
The Biden administration swung aggressively into action after a primary gasoline pipeline fell prey to a cyberattack
6:52PM ( 6 hours ago )
2018 audit found 'glaring deficiencies' at pipeline company
The author of a 3-year-old audit of the pipeline company hit by a cyberattack threatening East Coast fuel supplies has told The Associated Press that he found “atrocious” information management practices and “a patchwork of poorly connected and secured systems."
6:05PM ( 7 hours ago )
Gas pipeline shutdown tests administration; Biden optimistic
The cyberattack last week on a primary gasoline pipeline has created new political and economic risks for the Biden administration
4:43PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Rising commodities costs hit Americans at home and on road
Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level
1:36PM ( 11 hours ago )
Blinken stresses US resolve in call with Russian diplomat
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told his Russian counterpart that the Biden administration won't waver in responding to aggression from Moscow in the United States or elsewhere
1:26PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Israeli jets flatten 14-story building in Gaza
Israeli fighter jets have dropped two bombs on a 14-story building in Gaza City and destroyed it
12:56PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
US cities see surge in deadly street racing amid pandemic
Across America, illegal drag racing has surged in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic began
1:14AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Biden team moves swiftly to tackle pipeline political peril
The Biden administration swung aggressively into action after a primary gasoline pipeline fell prey to a cyberattack
12:34AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Virus stifles Muslims' Eid al-Fitr celebrations for 2nd year
Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr in a subdued mood for a second year as the COVID-19 pandemic again forces mosque closings and family separations on the holiday marking the end of Ramadan
12:31AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Takeaways: Partisan discord instead of Jan. 6 answers
A House hearing on the Capitol insurrection has wrapped up after harsh words from lawmakers
12:19AM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP purged Cheney for 'unity,' but Trump bent on retribution
Republican leaders insist that purging Trump critic Liz Cheney from their ranks was necessary to unify the party ahead of next year’s midterm elections
12:18AM ( 1 hour ago )