Panic Buying Pushes US Petrol Above $3 A Gallon


Average US petrol prices recently hit the $3 a gallon mark, the highest in seven years, as fears of a fuel shortage after a cyber attack that shut down a major pipeline entered its sixth day.

Fears of a shortage sparked panic buying of fuel in states across the southwest of the US, with many not taking precautions, filling up plastic bags and storage bins with fuel, which has led to at least one vehicle catching fire. Federal and state officials have pleaded with the public not to engage in panic buying.

The worst-hit was North Carolina, with 25 per cent of its filing stations running dry by the morning of Wednesday 12 May, and 15 per cent of stations in Georgia and Virginia reporting they were also without fuel. The problems were particularly acute in major urban hubs. Outages hit more than 70 per cent in Charlotte, North Carolina, and 60 per cent in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Colonial pipeline was shut on Friday after a cyber attack, which the FBI said was carried out by a group called DarkSide, who has since taken responsibility and have also apologised, issuing a statement on its website that read: “Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.”

The 5,500-mile network delivers petrol, diesel and jet fuel from refineries on the Gulf of Mexico to markets on the US east coast.

As of the morning of Wednesday 12 May, average US petrol prices were at $3.008 a gallon, according to US automobile association AAA.

Georgias governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday issued an executive order suspending the state s gasoline tax as officials in the region sought to calm drivers nerves.

There is no need to rush to top off your gas tanks or hoard gas — the pipeline is expected to resume operations by the end of the week,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Twitter.

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