The Colonial Pipeline officially reopened after a six-day shutdown, but its effects are expected to continue for several more days. Industry executives and government officials warn it will take time to refill gasoline supplies worsened by panic-buying.
According to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the successful restart of the pipeline “should mean things will return to normal by the end of the weekend.”
The restart is “not like flicking on a light switch,” President Biden said during an update Thursday. “This pipeline is 5,500 miles long. It had never been fully shut down in its entire history.”
Panicked drivers depleted more than 17,000 stations throughout the Southeast, including many that would not otherwise have been affected by the pipeline hack. By 7 a.m. EST Thursday, 71% of the gas stations in North Carolina and 55% in Virginia were without gasoline, according to GasBuddy.
The demand also increased the national average price of gasoline to more than $3 per gallon — the most expensive it’s been since November 2014. In his update, Biden spoke directly to gas station owners, urging them to avoid price gouging.
“Do not, I repeat, do not try to take advantage of consumers during this time,” he said. “Nobody should be using this situation for financial gain. That’s what the hackers are trying to do. That’s what they’re about. Not us. That’s not who we are.”
Fact check: Yes, viral photo shows gas hoarding in Alabama after Colonial Pipeline hackhttps://t.co/kNBRNaGO0f pic.twitter.com/sitEfm1w15
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 13, 2021
“At Parker’s, we are extremely fortunate to be located near the coast in Georgia and South Carolina, which means we regularly receive waterborne fuel through the port as well as fuel that is delivered by pipeline,” the Savannah, Ga.-based c-store chain told CStore Decisions in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to make sure we have fuel for our customers. We encourage customers to purchase gas only when they need it and to resist the impulse to stockpile fuel. We hope the Colonial Pipeline situation will be resolved soon and appreciate the hard work of our team members as well as the ongoing support of our customers throughout the region.”
Pilot Co. also released a statement to its customers outlining the issue and the company’s continued efforts. Pilot Co.’s Pilot Flying J Travel Center network includes over 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces.
“The increased strain on the supply chain is causing supplies to get tighter,” the company said. ” … We will continue to do everything we can, including bringing in resources and extra drivers from unaffected areas, to meet demand and restore supply where needed at our travel centers.”