Gas prices expected to spike due to fuel pipeline shutdown

FAIRFAX, Va. (NBC) – There are growing gas shortages in half the country as fallout mounts from the cyberattack that has crippled an essential fuel pipeline.

The 5,500 mile Colonial Pipeline, a main artery from Texas to tank farms all over the East Coast, was shut down last Friday. Gas lines are starting to get longer and prices are getting higher.

One of those fuel tank farms is just outside of Washington, D.C. It’s supplied by that pipeline that runs up the East Coast but with the pipeline dry at the moment, the fuel levels inside the tank starts to drop. So it’s going to be critical that they get the operation back up and running as quickly as possible.

Colonial Pipeline believes it should be able to reopen the pipeline by the end of the week, but in the meantime, we’ve already seen spot shortages of gasoline, especially in the southeast.

North Carolina for example, where the governor has already declared a state of emergency, we have long lines at gas stations yesterday and last night. In some cases, gas stations are reporting they were really running low on fuel.

The longer this extends, the longer this lasts, the more likely it is that we’re going to see a price run-up at the gas pump.

Three to six cents a gallon increase is what we expect at the moment, probably more in the southeast. And then as this heads over into the weekend, if Colonial can get the pipeline back up and running again, hopefully at that point prices should stabilize.

But we will likely be at or above $3 a gallon, which is the highest we’ve seen gas prices since 2014.

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