Drivers on the East Coast were shocked starting Monday night to discover lines at gas stations and fuel shortages caused by a cyberhack.
The Colonial Pipeline, which is about 5,500 miles long, is normally responsible for transporting 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply, was shut down when a hacker group known as DarkSide attacked the line.
In Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, gasoline demand was up more than 40% on Monday, said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. People took to social media to express shock at the phenomenon, with many comparing the lines and outages to decades past.
⛽️ Today I passed MULTIPLE gas stations with no gas and waited in a long line at only station that did. First time I ever remember this happening (not related to weather) since I started driving in 1985. pic.twitter.com/WIpHnACBYj— Marc Lotter (@marc_lotter) May 11, 2021
The hacking group itself claimed in a statement that it wanted to make money without causing problems for society, although the shortages show that the hack is already causing issues in the United States.
“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives,” the statement said. “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”
Colonial Pipeline said on Monday that it aims to have the pipeline up and running by the end of the week and said that it would be restarting operations incrementally in a “phased approach.”
The lines of drivers wanting to fuel up come after White House homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said on Monday that “there is no supply shortage right now” of transportation fuels because of the shuttered pipeline.
“We’re working with other agencies to consider how, if necessary, we can move supplies to a place where it might be needed if it turns out that there is a shortfall,” she said.
The Colonial Pipeline shutdown has caused gas prices to hover near $3 per gallon, the highest price since 2014. As of Tuesday morning, the average domestic gas price was $2.99 per gallon, according to AAA.NewsHackColonial PipelineCybersecurityGas PricesOil