In the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hacking and subsequent shutdown, the national average of gasoline prices has surged to the highest since the Obama administration, and will likely keep rising.
"On the week, the national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96. If the trend continues, an increase of three more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014 –the last time we saw average prices at $2.99 and higher," reported the American Automobile Association Monday.
By Wednesday though, according to the Daily Wire, the national average soared to its highest price in six and a half years, at $3.008 per gallon.
The shortages and gas station lines seen on social media come after Colonial Pipeline announced it's pipeline that runs from Texas to New York Harbor that supplies 45 percent of the east coast's fuel supply was a victim of a cyber security attack from a group officials call DarkSide. The company shut off its pipeline as a precaution while it looks into the matter.
"This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally," said AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee. "Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week."
Over a thousand gas stations across the southern United States ran out of fuel on Tuesday, with lines stretching as far as the eye can see in some cases as many panic buy gasoline. Social media posts show gas stations in states including Alabama South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee, among others completely out of fuel.
"The crunch is in the areas that are affected by the pipeline, the main spurs of the pipeline,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. "So that really is the Southeast. It's about 70% of the supplies of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and especially Southern Virginia are impacted the most. And so those are the areas that we have the greatest concerns with. And because of the fact that there’s not a whole lot of other supply… Now, this particular pipeline also supplies other states, but there are other pipelines that supply their states as well."
Governors in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina had all declared a state of emergency in regards to the fuel shortages as of Tuesday.
According to AAA, once the pipeline is running again, there could still be delays in receiving fuel as it takes 15-18 days for the fuel to run from Texas to New York up the pipeline.
Although the country as a whole has a sufficient gasoline supply at 235.8 million barrels, the Biden Administration issued waivers on Tuesday that aim to help alleviate the strain.
These waivers would allow non-compliant fuels that don't adhere to the federal Reid vapor pressure requirements to be sold, give truck drivers hauling fuel greater hours of service as well as allow for higher truck weight limits, and would look at rail operators ability to help transport fuel from areas not facing a shortage, among other things.