Gas Stations Coming Up Empty Following Pipeline Hacking

Mike BrestMay 12, 20214min
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Gas stations across the East Coast are starting to run out of fuel as one of the biggest petroleum pipelines fights to recover from a cyberattack.

Gas stations ranging from Virginia to Florida to Alabama are reported to have run out of gas, and drivers have been surprised to find long lines or no service available. The outages come as people are rushing to the pumps to fill up, causing a spike in gasoline demand.

In five states alone, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, gasoline demand rose more than 40% on Monday, said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. All five states are served by the Colonial Pipeline, which shut down Friday night as a precaution to evaluate the extent of the damage after hackers breached the company’s internal computer networks.

The hack is the most significant, successful cyberattack ever on energy infrastructure in the United States.

Nationally, gasoline demand spiked nearly 20% on Monday compared to the prior Monday, hitting levels that rival Fridays, typically the day of the week with the highest demand, GasBuddy said.

The Colonial Pipeline, which is about 5,500 miles long, is normally responsible for transporting 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply, including 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined products daily. The pipeline hopes to restore service before the weekend.

Virginia and North Carolina saw the highest percentage of gas station outages, at 7.6% and 4.8%, respectively, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency. The order temporarily pauses regulations for vehicle fuels to avoid supply interruptions.

Other states with outages included Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.

In response to the gasoline shortages, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency fuel waiver Tuesday for states affected by the pipeline shutdown. The action, which waives certain fuel vapor pressure requirements, will last for a full week.

The EPA and the Energy Department are actively monitoring fuel supply shortages and are “considering additional measures to alleviate the impact,” the EPA said in a news release.

On Monday, federal authorities confirmed that the DarkSide hacker group was responsible for the hack that shut down Colonial Pipeline on Friday, stealing large amounts of data before locking computers with ransomware and demanding payment.

In a statement, DarkSide described themselves as “apolitical” and appeared to apologize for the massive disruptions its attack caused. “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society,” the group said.

Author : Mike Brest

Source : Washington Examiner : Gas stations coming up empty following pipeline hacking