The national average price for a gallon of gasoline soared to its highest level this week since the Obama era and is likely going to continue increasing at least the in short term.
“On the week, the national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96,” the American Automobile Association reported on Monday. “If the trend continues, an increase of three more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014 –the last time we saw average prices at $2.99 and higher.”
By Wednesday, however, the national average price for a gallon of gas had soared to $3.008, meaning gas is now at its highest point in six and a half years.
The news comes after Colonial Pipeline announced over the weekend that it shut its pipeline down after it fell victim to a cyberattack that officials say originated from a group out of Russia.
“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.”
More than a thousand gas stations ran out of fuel on Tuesday as parts of the country struggled to deal with the fallout of the pipeline disruption and some panic buying set in.
“The crunch is in the areas that are affected by the pipeline, the main spurs of the pipeline,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. “So that really is the Southeast. It’s about 70% of the supplies of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and especially Southern Virginia are impacted the most. And so those are the areas that we have the greatest concerns with. And because of the fact that there’s not a whole lot of other supply … Now, this particular pipeline also supplies other states, but there are other pipelines that supply their states as well.”
On social media, multiple videos went viral of people showing that their gas stations were out of fuel in states including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and others. Some analysts said that panic buying could be playing a role in gas stations running out of fuel.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam all declared emergencies Tuesday due to the crisis. Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared an emergency over the matter on Monday.
The Biden administration issued temporary waivers and other measures in an attempt to alleviate some of the challenges being presented by the fuel shortage. The disaster, which comes less than a week after a terrible U.S. jobs report, had some comparing Democrat President Joe Biden to former President Jimmy Carter. Job numbers for the month of March were also significantly revised down last week.
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