Colonial Pipeline shutdown prompts federal, state action to move fuel

Samantha Fields May 12, 2021
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The pipeline network carries 2.5 million barrels of fuel a day from the Gulf Coast all up along the East Coast. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline shutdown prompts federal, state action to move fuel

Samantha Fields May 12, 2021
Heard on:
The pipeline network carries 2.5 million barrels of fuel a day from the Gulf Coast all up along the East Coast. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Colonial Pipeline, down since late last week, when a ransomware attack forced it offline, is still not back up and running. That’s affecting consumers, especially in the Southeast, where some gas stations are out of fuel. So far four states — Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida — have declared a state of emergency because of gas shortages.

The federal government and states are taking action to try to prevent more widespread disruptions and price hikes while the pipeline is down. It carries 2.5 million barrels of fuel a day from the Gulf Coast all up along the East Coast. 

Moving that much fuel without it is not easy, according to Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School. He said there are things the federal government can do and is doing to move supply around more quickly.

“The administration suspended the hourly limits that truck drivers can drive while they’re driving tanker trucks around,” Shih said.

States are also taking action. Georgia, for example, has increased the amount of weight trucks are allowed to carry on its roads and bridges, said Devin Gladden at AAA. “That allows for heavier tankers to drive more gasoline to stations that need it. The other thing the state has done is to waive the state gas tax,” Gladden said, in a bid to stabilize gas prices.

He said consumers also have a role to play in that: not panic-buying.

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