America’s southeast is seeing the worst of the growing energy crisis after a devastating hack of a major American pipeline, with well over 1,000 gas stations running out of fuel altogether, the New York Post reports.
Following the hack of the Colonial Pipeline, a critical system that serves 17 states, the situation was made even worse by a spike in panic-buying of fuel, which led to even more gas stations running out than caused by the initial hack. North Carolina felt the worst of the shortage, with approximately 8.5 percent of its roughly 5,400 gas stations running empty. Virginia was not too far behind, after around 7.7 percent of its 3,900 stations also ran dry.
Some economists attributed this shortage to a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” with S&P analyst Tom Kloza claiming that “a lot of that is because they’re selling three or four times as much gasoline that they normally sell in a given day, because people do panic.”
The shortage comes five days after the hack forced the Colonial Pipeline Co. to shut down the entirety of its 5,500-mile pipeline, which runs from New Jersey to Texas. This network alone provides nearly 45 percent of gas, including diesel and jet fuel, to the entirety of the East Coast.
The federal government has blamed the attack on Russian hackers, although this has yet to be confirmed.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tried to downplay the crisis in a press conference, comparing the situation to the bizarre phenomenon that saw millions of Americans “hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic,” and that “there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline.”