Shades of 70’s gas lines again?

Fuel shortages have widened across the East Coast as consumers continue to panic buy amid the fallout from a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline last week by Russian ransomware group DarkSide. The national average for gas prices has now reached $3 per gallon as of Wednesday, the most expensive level since October 2014.

The 5,500-mile pipeline system transports more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil per day, or roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the Eastern Seaboard between the Gulf Coast and the New York metro area.

Colonial Pipeline Co. said on Monday that it is aiming to substantially restore its system by the end of the week.

Gasbuddy – which operates apps and websites based on finding real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations – attributes the increase in gas prices to the economic recovery associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gasbuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan noted that Tuesday’s gasoline demand soared 14.3% compared to the prior Tuesday, while week to date gasoline demand is up 10.7% week-over-week.

De Haan clarified that while the stations are reporting fuel outages, the situation appears to be that there are not enough truck drivers to transport existing fuel rather than not enough supply. He urged officials to send more trucks in to help alleviate the situation.

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