Pumps are flowing — and prices are up
Gas outages across the eastern U.S. peaked last Thursday, May 13 and have steadily been declining, says Patrick De Haan, an oil and refined products analyst with the data-tracking website GasBuddy. As of Wednesday, only 21 percent of fueling stations in the state reported outages, compared with 52 percent that were out of fuel on May 13.
The shortage was spurred by the shutdown of the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline (which supplies fuel to 12 eastern states) after a cyberattack held the fuel artery hostage. The company has since paid at least a $5 million ransom in Monero, an untraceable cryptocurrency. (Since the ransom payment just one week ago, the value of Monero has dropped 22.7 percent.)
The shutdown led to a fuel-purchasing frenzy which had people filling plastic grocery bags with gasoline (firefighters were on high alert) and waiting in miles-long queues on the sides of roadways.
Rappahannock residents were, for the most part, able to avoid sitting in lines for hours, but several stations experienced temporary gas outages. Quicke Mart and Hillsdale Country Store on Route 211 were out for some time, as were Baldwin’s Grocery in Washington and FT Valley Gas & Grocery in Sperryville. Gas prices jumped 20 cents, up from an average of $2.79 per gallon to $2.99 per gallon and have stayed elevated.
Though the pipeline’s operations resumed late last week, Virginia is still currently under a state of emergency which allows the Virginia Department of Transportation to waive registration and licensing and weight and width restrictions on trucks transporting refined products to terminals and gas stations as well as waive fuel vapor requirements.
On Monday, May 17, Colonial announced that the company is “transporting refined products (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) at normal levels and are fully operational.”
This story has been updated from an article published on May 13