With the Colonial Pipeline, a vital fuel pipeline stretching from Texas to New Jersey, shut down after a ransomware attack, airlines, consumers and state leaders are responding as gas prices rise in part of the country.
Industry analysts said the impact of the shutdown would remain relatively minor as long as the artery was fully restored soon, but drivers scrambled to fuel their vehicles at filling stations across the Southeast on Tuesday in a panic-buying spree that left thousands of outlets out of gasoline.
Gasoline in Georgia and a few other states rose 3 to 10 cents a gallon on Tuesday, a price jump typically seen only when hurricanes interrupt Gulf of Mexico refinery and pipeline operations
A gallon of gas increased an average of nearly 7 cents in South Carolina and 6 cents in North Carolina on Tuesday, while gas in Virginia rose about 3 cents a gallon.
Filling stations in Southern states were selling two to three times their normal amount of gasoline on Tuesday, according to the Oil Price Information Service, an organization that tracks the oil sector. Some stations are running out of fuel while others are limiting purchases to 10 gallons.
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed an executive order suspending his state’s gasoline tax through Saturday, which amounts to roughly 20 cents a gallon. Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia each declared a state of emergency in an effort to suspend some fuel transport rules.
American Airlines said it had added stops to two daily flights out of Charlotte, N.C. One, to Honolulu, will stop in Dallas, where customers will change planes. The other, to London, will stop in Boston to refuel. The flights are expected to return to their original schedules on Saturday.
Southwest Airlines said it was flying in supplemental fuel to Nashville, and United Airlines said it was flying extra fuel to Baltimore; Nashville; Savannah, Ga.; and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina.
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