As the Colonial Pipeline remains mostly shut following a ransomware attack last week, the eastern United States, many of which rely heavily on the pipeline for their fuel needs, are currently experiencing a shortage. One such state is Florida, where multiple gas stations have been left completely tapped of fuel as residents rush to gas up.
In response to the ongoing closure of the pipeline and the fuel shortage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has formally placed Florida in a state of emergency. With this declaration, the Florida National Guard is now on hand to support local authorities if necessary, and local and federal officials are working together to concoct a plan to manage fuel reserves.
The state of emergency, according to analysts, is mostly a precaution rather than a reflection of any actual danger. Out of all of the eastern United States that have been affected by the pipeline closure, Florida wasn’t actually affected that badly, as in addition to the pipeline, it receives a lot of fuel from Gulf Coast refineries. These analysts have assured Florida residents that there is no need to panic, and that mass-buying and hoarding fuel is not necessary. So, of course, many people are panicking and mass-buying fuel.
‘Fuel up responsibly’: Industry officials say panic buying in Florida is causing gas shortage https://t.co/cHH8Q5li1X
— Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) May 11, 2021
“It was like a surge all the sudden. It was like everybody got a multi-text saying ‘go get gas,’” Layla Mahdavih, a Sunoco station manager told Florida Politics.
“Within two hours we had already sold like 500 gallons,” she said.
“You see people filling up empty gallons and, mind you, there’s a line 10 cars behind them and they don’t even care,” Tallahassee local Macy Harper said.
“They don’t care they’re filling up empty tanks,” Harper said. “It was a little bit maddening, I’m not going to lie.”
Colonial has plans in place to reopen the pipeline soon, so while gas prices may fluctuate a bit, the fuel supply should be normalized within the next week or so.