MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily because of what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers, as the shutdown of a major pipeline by a gang of hackers entered its sixth day Wednesday.
Government officials acted swiftly to waive safety and environmental rules to speed the delivery of fuel by truck, ship or rail to motorists and airports, even as they sought to assure the public that there was no cause for alarm.
FOX13 has reported that people were “panic-buying” in search of supply.
On Wednesday afternoon, GasBuddy reported that 16% of gas station in Tennessee were without gasoline.
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The Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S., delivering about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them.
A large part of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.
Motorists may still feel a crunch because it takes a few days to ramp up operations, but she said there is no reason to hoard gasoline.
“We know that we have gasoline; we just have to get it to the right places,” she said.
S&P’s Oil Price Information Service put the number of gas stations encountering shortages at more than 1,000.
Cox Media Group