The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline has pushed gasoline prices to $2.99 per gallon and could breach $3 for the first time since late 2014, according to AAA.
Before the cyberattack on the pipeline, the average national gas price had already jumped in recent weeks, as some level of increase is normal this time of year ahead of Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer driving season.
But gasoline demand is rising along the East Coast as drivers fill up their tanks in anticipation of a supply shortage due to the closure of the Colonial Pipeline, a 5,500-mile artery from Houston to the doorstep of New York City that is responsible for nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supply, including gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel.
Patrick De Haan, an analyst with GasBuddy, said gasoline demand yesterday rose 40.1% between just five states, all of which are served by the Colonial Pipeline: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, attributed the price increase to panic among drivers.
Specific gas stations ranging from Virginia to Florida to Alabama have run out of gas.
"Markets are calming down; consumers need to do likewise," Kloza said in a Twitterpost.
The Colonial Pipeline hopes to be able to restore service before the weekend after the most significant, successful cyberattack ever on energy infrastructure in the United States.