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Cyberattack on US pipeline brings lines to East Coast gas stations, signs of panic buying

The ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies the East Coast with roughly 45% of it petroleum, occurred Friday.

Updated: May 12, 2021 - 10:39am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Motorists along the southern East Coast on Tuesday began forming lines at gas station, following the recent cyber attack on the major U.S. pipeline that apparently sparked fear of a petroleum shortage in the region. 

Lines former in states including Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina following the ransomware attack Friday by Russia-based criminal group DarkSide.

Several gas stations in North Carolina's Triangle region were out of fuel by sunrise, according to WRAL-TV, as gas-hunters along the coast flocked to Twitter with reports and pictures of long line. 

"I’ve visited five gas stations this morning and the Costco one is the first to have gas," a woman in Tallahassee, Florida wrote in a tweet that included a video of a bumper-to-bumper wait. "The line is insane."

"Gas shortage" on Tuesday was the No.1 internet search, according to Google Trends, which reports over 2 million such searches.

The effected Colonial Pipeline supplies starts in Texas and supplies the East Coast with roughly 45 percent of its fuel.

On Monday, the pipeline company said in the process of restarting operations and assured people there was no shortage, according to Newsweek.

However, the governors of Georgia and North Carolina have declared states of emergency

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency that suspends motor vehicle fuel regulations to guarantee the state has adequate fuel supply.

On Tuesday, Georgia GOP. Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency and signed an executive order to temporarily suspend the gas tax in his state.

In addition to the shortages, gas prices have also increase since the attack was reported early Saturday. Gas prices along the country's eastern coast are reaching $3 a gallon, about 7 cents higher than a week ago and 13 more than about a month ago.