CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A cyberattack on a critical U.S. pipeline sent ripple effects across the economy.
The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard, shut down on May 7 after a ransomware attack by a gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide. The incident impacted millions of consumers.
Many gasoline stations in the Carolinas experienced shortages at the pump, sending residents scrambling around, in search of supply. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency, lifting some restrictions to ensure adequate fuel supplies are delivered across the state.
It's important to note that there’s no imminent shortfall, and thus no need to panic buy gasoline, Richard Joswick, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global Platts, said. If the pipeline is restored by Friday, there won’t be much of an issue.
WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions by finding a resource for residents who don't want to drive all around town, trying to find which stations have gas and which don't. If you absolutely need to get gas, try using this Gas Buddy Tracker to find out where the shortages are. Just search for your zip code, and it will list which stations have fuel.
The average gasoline price jumped six cents to $2.96 over the past week, and it’s expected to continue climbing because of the pipeline closure, according to AAA. Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia to Delaware are the most likely to experience limited fuel availability and higher prices, and if the national average rises by three more cents, these would be the highest prices since November 2014, according to AAA.
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The shutdown also affected flights out of Charlotte. American Airlines said direct flights to London and Honolulu will now make stops to get additional fuel. The flight from Charlotte (CLT) to Honolulu (HNL) will connect in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to change aircraft, and the flight from Charlotte to London (LHR) will stop in Boston (BOS) to receive additional fuel.
You can be a part of our coverage. If you see a gas station that's out of gas, pull out your phone and go to the WCNC Charlotte news app. Hit "Near Me" in the bottom right-hand corner and upload your photo or video. Don't forget to tell us where it is!
The company paid the ransom hours after it was hacked, according to Bloomberg. The hack shut down all four of its major pipelines that serve the Eastern and Southeastern United States. After making the payment, hackers provided the Georgia-based operator with a decrypting tool to restore its computer network. The decrypting tool was so slow that the company used its own backups to help restore the system.
After restarting operations on May 12, Colonial Pipeline said on May 13 that its entire pipeline system had restarted.
At the outages' height, more than 70% of North Carolina's gas stations were without fuel amid panic-buying, as were about half the stations in South Carolina and Georgia, GasBuddy.com reported.
If you spot a fuel line or a gas station running short of fuel, snap a photo and send it to WCNC Charlotte. You can upload the image to our newsroom using the Near Me function on the WCNC Charlotte mobile app, or by texting 704-329-3600.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.