TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gas stations across Tampa Bay are having to bag up their pumps due to a mad rush of drivers who are “panic buying” as the shutdown of the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline enters another day.
A ransomware hack forced Colonian Pipeline, a source of nearly half the East Coast’s fuel supply, to shut down Friday. The attack is being blamed on the Russian criminal group DarkSide.
The shutdown has affected the supply of gas from Florida to Virginia. But in Florida, it’s mostly due to drivers “panic buying,” not because of the pipeline, state authorities said.
Gas stations in Tampa and Sarasota and Pasco counties are waiting for fresh shipments of fuel.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency over the matter to allow more trucks to move through the state.
“My fear is, you have these gas shortages, it’s going to cause a lot of problems for people, just the convenience of life, but also for our economy,” DeSantis said.
The situation could also increase prices at the pump.
“Throughout a lot of state here in the southeast gasoline sales are up two to three times compared to normal levels. There is a tremendous amount of people who are converging at the pump at the same time,” said Jenkins.