USA: Empty gas pumps after cyberattack on gasoline pipeline


Scarce gasoline, rising prices: The cyberattack on the largest gasoline pipeline in the U.S. is causing uncertainty. The government is trying to prevent hoarding purchases with appeals.

The U.S. government has urged citizens not to hoard fuel following the cyberattack on the largest gasoline pipeline in the country. “The next few days will be challenging,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday (local time) in Washington. But the situation will soon return to normal, she said, adding that there is no shortage of fuel.

The government is asking that people refrain from hoarding purchases. “We have gasoline, we just need to get it to the right places,” Granholm said.

Many gas stations without gasoline

According to market analysis firm Gasbuddy, supply shortages increased because of the pipeline outage. In Atlanta, for example, about 20 percent of gas stations had no gasoline at last count, he said. Elsewhere, too, there were sometimes empty pumps, according to the report.

The shortage has driven gasoline prices in the U.S. to their highest level since 2014. But operator Colonial plans to have the pipeline largely back to normal service by the end of the week. The company transports about 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

Cyberattack cripples pipeline

The company said it had taken certain systems offline late last week after a cyberattack to contain the threat. As a result, the pipeline’s operations had come to a complete standstill, it said.

A deputy national security adviser had said at the White House on Monday that the government had no information on whether the pipeline operator had paid a ransom to the extortionists. For now, she said, a “criminal act” is assumed. However, all indications are being examined, also with regard to a possible involvement of state actors.


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