The Colonial pipeline is back in action after a six-day shutdown, but widespread gas station outages in the southeast could persist for days.
Industry executives and government officials have warned that it will take time to refuel gasoline depleted by panic buying, the shortage of truck drivers and the ransomware attack on the pipeline.
As of 7 a.m. ET today, 71 percent of gas stations in North Carolina and 55 percent in Virginia are gas-free, according to GasBuddy, a platform that tracks fuel demand, prices and breakdowns. And 49% of stations in Georgia are gas-free.
This means that the three states have seen only “limited improvement overnight” in gas availability, according to Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy.
Big cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach and Raleigh are seeing “improvement” in blackouts, De Haan wrote on Twitter.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Colonial Pipeline reported Thursday morning that the pipeline restart “went well” overnight.
“This should mean things will get back to normal by the end of the weekend,” Granholm wrote on Twitter.
One problem is that the 5,500-mile pipeline runs at just 5 miles per hour, which means gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel could take days, if not weeks, to flow through most places and fill up. storage nearly empty, Platts analysts said.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but the trees are thinning out,” wrote Richard Joswick, global head of petroleum analysis at S&P Global Platts, in an email.
At the same time, a massive shortage of truck drivers is hampering the delivery of much needed fuel to stations in the southeast.
Oil industry executives pleaded with Americans on Wednesday not to stockpile gasoline, warning that panic buying is making matters worse. Officials said some gas stations ran out of stocks by days within hours.