Gas station outages are continuing to pile up as the Colonial Pipeline remains mostly shut down after it was hit with a cyberattack on Friday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly two-thirds of gas stations in North Carolina are without fuel, according to the latest data from GasBuddy on Wednesday morning, the sixth day of the shutdown.
Major urban areas of the state have been hit hard, too. For example, as of Wednesday morning, 72% of gas stations in the Raleigh/Durham area and 71% of the gas stations in the Charlotte area were out of gasoline, said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.
Outages are ticking up significantly in other southeastern states as well. As of Wednesday afternoon, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia are experiencing fuel shortages at more than 40% of their gas stations, according to GasBuddy. Other states with outages include: Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Washington, D.C., is seeing outages at 10% of its gas stations, as well.
Government officials and fuel analysts have been warning people against panic-buying gasoline.
“There should be no cause for hoarding gasoline,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at a White House press briefing Tuesday. “It’s not that we have a gasoline shortage. We have this supply crunch. Things will be back to normal soon.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has now issued emergency fuel waivers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., allowing them to bypass fuel requirements until the end of the month as they grapple with the fallout from the pipeline shutdown. Governors in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida have all issued similar orders statewide, declaring states of emergency as the fuel outages continue.
The Transportation Department has also taken a number of steps to ease fuel delivery. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an hours of service waiver to provide flexibility to drivers transporting fuels to 18 affected states. The Transportation Department also determined 10 states could use existing federal disaster declarations to issue temporary permits allowing drivers to carry additional gasoline that would typically exceed weight requirements on federal highways, Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a White House press briefing Wednesday.
Buttigieg, as well as EPA Administrator Michael Regan, said they are hearing from states that the actions the agencies are taking have started to help, but the officials also said they’re closely monitoring the fallout in states to determine whether waivers will need to be expanded or extended.
“Of course, we understand the concern in the areas where people are encountering temporary supply disruptions, but hoarding does not make things better,” Buttigieg said. “And under no circumstances should gasoline ever be put into anything but a vehicle directly or an approved container.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sent out warnings via tweet Wednesday morning urging people not to fill plastic bags with gasoline and to avoid pouring gasoline near an open flame.
Source: Washington Examiner : Gasoline outages pile up, with nearly two-thirds of North Carolina gas stations out of fuel