A friend carrying a gas canister is greeted by a motorist waiting in a long line to enter a gas station while demand for fuel following the cyberattack that struck the colonial pipeline in Durham, North Carolina on May 12, 2021 paralyzed, increased.
Jonathan Drake | Reuters
Gas prices rose more than eight cents in the past week when the Colonial Pipeline shutdown disrupted a vital artery in the U.S. petroleum industry.
The company said it had started resuming operations around 5:00 p.m. ET Wednesday evening and said Thursday morning that "product delivery has started in most markets". Colonial Pipeline aims to restore service to all markets by noon.
Most of the pipeline had been closed since Friday after the company was victim of a cyber attack.
Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm said earlier Thursday that the restart "went well overnight". "This should mean things will get back to normal at the end of the weekend," she added.
The national average cost of a gallon of gasoline was $ 3.028 per gallon Thursday, up from $ 2.941 a week ago, according to data from AAA a week ago.
The shutdown of the pipeline sparked fears of fuel shortages in the southeast and prompted consumers to rush to the pump. This in turn led to widespread failures and higher prices.
Gas prices in Georgia are up 25 cents last week, South Carolina 19 cents, North Carolina 17 cents, and Virginia 16 cents.
Gas outages continue to hit the southeast as the pipeline comes back online.
More than half of the stations in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia are fuelless, according to the latest data from GasBuddy.
When long lines formed at the pumps, officials urged consumers not to fill up unnecessarily.
"Please don't buy gasoline unless you are low and report cases of price cuts," North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said in a tweet.
As the pipeline shutdown stretched, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection waived certain fuel transport and fuel blending requirements to address concerns about the shortage.
In addition, the White House said Thursday it had temporarily waived the Jones Act for a company. The Jones Act stipulates that goods transported between US ports must be carried on ships flying the US flag.
The ransomware attack was carried out by a group called DarkSide. The Colonial Pipeline reportedly has no intention of paying the ransom, citing people familiar with the matter, according to The Washington Post.
"So far there is no evidence from our intelligence officials that Russia is involved, although there is evidence that the actor's ransomware is in Russia. You have a certain responsibility to deal with it," Biden said from the White House on Monday.
On Wednesday evening, Biden signed an executive order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses.
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