The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has jumped on the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack and subsequent outage. The overall average price of retail gasoline is now at $2.985 per gallon, according to AAA. This compares to a year-ago average of just $1.847 per gallon.
This is the highest gasoline price since 2018. Another two-cent rise for U.S. gasoline prices and it would be at a 7-year high, according to GasBuddy data.
It is the Colonial Pipeline’s fifth outage day.
U.S. Gulf Coast refiners curbed their fuel production on Monday, as it became more and more difficult to find takeaway capacity to move their products. One such refiner—Motiva in Port Arthur, the largest one in the United States—slashed its production by 45% on Monday.
The service disruption is affecting the entire East Coast region.
It has also run dry gas stations in the southeast United States, as gas stations report they have sold out of gasoline as supplies run tight and drivers scramble to top off for fear that they won’t be able to fill up when they truly need it. The panic buying has exacerbated the outage.
Colonial Pipeline has said it will not be able to restore the pipeline to full service until sometime this weekend. Under normal operations, the Colonial pipeline system ships 2.5 million barrels per day.
Citigroup has stated that the East Coast is at risk of a “temporary, but major shortage” of fuels due to the closure, according to Bloomberg.
Colonial Pipeline issued a statement on Twitter on Tuesday that said it was “experiencing a temporary service disruption to our corporate website” that was unrelated to the ransomware attack.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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