U.S. gasoline shortage eases, but pumps still dry in some areas

Gasoline shortages that have plagued the U.S. East Coast over the last week slowly eased on Sunday as the country’s largest fuel pipeline network recovered from a crippling cyberattack, APA reports citing Reuters.

The six-day closure of Colonial Pipeline’s 5,500-mile (8,900-km) system was the most disruptive cyberattack on record, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from reaching fuel tanks throughout the eastern United States.

Thousands of gas stations ran dry as supplies failed to arrive and drivers fearing a prolonged outage filled tanks and jerry cans. Refiners and fuel distributors are racing to recover before the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of May, the traditional start of the peak-demand summer driving season.

“Colonial Pipeline is currently shipping at normal rates, based on shipper nominations,” company spokesman Eric Abercrombie said in an email. ”It will take some time for the supply chain to fully catch up. In Washington, D.C., 80% of stations were still empty, according to tracking firm GasBuddy.

Elsewhere, roughly half of the stations in North and South Carolina were still out and at least a third of gas stations were without fuel in Maryland, Virginia and Georgia, GasBuddy data showed.

U.S. gasoline demand on Saturday dropped nearly 15% from a week earlier, according to GasBuddy, as drivers pulled back on fuel hoarding. Widespread panic buying even caused shortages in some areas not served by the pipeline.

Average nationwide gasoline prices are at their highest since 2014, with a gallon of regular unleaded at $3.044 on Sunday, up from $3.042 the previous day and $2.96 a week ago, according to the American Automobile Association.

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