Gas stations across the Southeast are running out of fuel as panicked motorists are stocking up on gasoline over fears of a gas shortage. The issue began last week when the Colonial Pipeline Company shut down its gas pipes following a ransomware attack. The 5,500-mile network of pipes supplies about 45% of the gasoline used across the East Coast.
According to GasBuddy, an app that tracks real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations across the country, North Carolina has been hit the hardest, with 24.8% of all gas stations reporting they are out of fuel. In Georgia, 15.4% of gas stations have shut down, as have 15% in Virginia and 13.2% in South Carolina.
The gas shortage is being felt the hardest in big cities, with 73% of gas stations Pensacola, 72% in Raleigh, 71% in Charlotte, and 60% in Atlanta, out of fuel.
For people are who are able to find a station that has gasoline, they are forced to wait in long lines the stretch around the block.
The supply issue has also sent prices skyrocketing, with the cost of gasoline rising by as much as ten cents overnight in some areas. GasBuddy predicts that the national average for gas prices could top $3 per gallon. The last time gas was that expensive was in 2014.
Officials are urging people to stop hoarding gasoline because the shortage is expected to be temporary. The Colonial Pipeline Company hopes to resume operations by the end of the week.
"It's not that we have a gasoline shortage, it's that we have this supply crunch and that things will be back to normal soon," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. "We are asking people not to hoard."
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