Earlier this week, following the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, experts warned that spikes in gas prices could be on the way. Now, it appears that’s exactly what has happened.
Per WSB, the prices have already begun to rise in the Atlanta area, frustrating local motorists. Florida, per WJCT, also saw gas prices rise 10 cents in just a week. And the Lexington Herald Leader reported that the Lexington, Kentucky, area, had posted the second-largest gas price increase in the United States. North Carolina has declared a state of emergency related to the gas issue.
Once the ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which experts described as the nation’s most important, experts declared that disruption of supply, and ultimately higher gas prices, was likely in the near future unless the pipeline was back online quickly. Also, it was expected that the Southeast would see prices rise first.
“At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation,” Colonial Pipeline said in a statement immediately following the recognition of the attack.
“This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.”
The Russian ransomware group known as Darkside has claimed responsibility for the hack, while claiming their only motivation is money and that they are not political actors. The FBI also considers them responsible for the attack.
“Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future,” the group said on its website, according to NBC News.
Until now, gasoline had stayed below an average price of $3 a gallon for most of the year so far.
The White House, Tuesday night, released a fact sheet touting what it called “an All-of-Government Effort to Address Colonial Pipeline Incident.”
“The Administration is focused on avoiding potential energy supply disruptions to impacted communities, the U.S. military, and other facilities reliant on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products. The Administration is continually assessing the pipeline shutdown’s impact on the U.S. fuel supply, as well as what additional actions are available to mitigate the impact of the pipeline’s shutdown,” the White House said.
That has included the establishment of an interagency response group, while also establishing “a targeted, one-week waiver allowing multiple states to temporarily use noncompliant fuel in an effort to boost available supply.” The White House also vowed to secure “critical infrastructure,” in the wake of the ransomware attack.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.