Gas stations throughout the Southeast are running out of fuel as Americans continue to panic-buy following the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.
The supply crunch appears to be much worse in some major metro areas. Here’s a look at some of the hardest-hit cities, according to GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel demand, prices and outages.
- Nearly three-quarters — 73% — of gas stations in Pensacola, Florida, are impacted.
- About 72% of gas stations are reporting outages in Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Outages are impacting 71% of the stations in metro Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Nearly 60% of stations are impacted in Atlanta.
The City of Charlotte, North Carolina, said Tuesday that while it has its own fuel reserve and enough fuel currently, it is asking city employees to limit non-essential travel “as a precautionary measure.”
“There is enough fuel supply at this time, but the city is preparing for a prolonged interruption as a precaution to ensure essential services are maintained. City of Charlotte staff are being asked to limit non-essential travel as a precautionary measure,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management said in a statement Tuesday.
In the statement, CMEM said it is actively monitoring the fallout from the cyber-attack on the Colonial Pipeline and urged the public to remain patient and avoid panic buying.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency Monday that temporarily suspends motor vehicle fuel regulations in the state.
As some gas stations in the US Southeast are reporting outages fueled by panic-buying, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning Americans to only fill up containers approved to carry gasoline.
Here are some of the agency’s warnings on Twitter:
A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline.
If you’re just reading in now, here’s what you need to know:
- About the pipeline: The pipeline system spans more than 5,500 miles and transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. It transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil.
- About the attack: The run on fuel began after a ransomware attack Friday shut down the Colonial Pipeline. The company said Monday it hopes to be substantially operational by the end of the week after a hack that authorities believe was carried out by a criminal group called DarkSide. As of Tuesday, most of the pipeline remained offline.
- About the surge in demand: As of 7 am ET, 24.8% of all gas stations in North Carolina, 15.4% in Georgia and 15% in Virginia are without gasoline, according to GasBuddy. Outages were also reported in South Carolina (13.4%), Florida (4.2%), Maryland (3.5%) and Tennessee (2.8%)
Some gas stations in the Southeast are running out of gas as Americans panic-buy following the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.
But experts say now is not the time to panic.
The best thing for car owners to do right now is take a deep breath and don’t rush to fill your tanks unless you have to. A big part of the problem is panic, Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas said. “We are our own worst enemy in this situation because we are over-consuming at the pump.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm pleaded with Americans not to hoard gas as the pipeline attempts to resume operations.
“Let me emphasize that much as there was no cause for say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline,” Granholm said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, “especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend.”
Some gas stations are being overwhelmed by intense demand for fuel following the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, an industry trade group told CNN Business on Wednesday.
“Demand has been two to four times normal in many markets and the system, even when it isn’t stressed, can’t support that,” Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, the leading trade group for convenience and fuel retailing, said in an email.
Lenard said the association has heard from retailers there are “definitely issues keeping ‘wet’” and called out images on social media showing people filling up not just their vehicles but any container available.
“That is a big problem,” he said. “Not only does that take away from fuel from those who need it, it also creates concern over transport and storage, wherever they are going. Just because you have something with a lid doesn’t mean you need to fill it with fuel.”
Gas stations in the southeastern United States face significant outages Wednesday as the Colonial Pipeline shutdown stretches into a sixth day, sparking panic-buying that is exacerbating the supply crunch.
Here’s a look at the states reporting the most outages as of 7 a.m. ET today, according to GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel demand, prices and outages:
- 24.8% of all gas stations in North Carolina are without gasoline
- 15.4% in Georgia
- 15% in Virginia
- 13.4% in South Carolina
- 4.2% in Florida
- 3.5% in Maryland
- 2.8% in Tennessee
Experts and officials pleaded with Americans not to hoard gasoline in the wake of the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline because overconsumption will only make the situation worse.