Colonial Pipeline Reopens, Gas Supply Normalizing

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Gas stations across the eastern US are receiving fresh shipments of fuel.

The temporary closure of the Colonial Pipeline last week led to rising gas prices and large-scale panic buying. Many gas stations, especially in the eastern and southeastern United States that rely more heavily on fuel from the pipeline, were inundated with customers until their gas pumps completely ran dry. However, as Colonial themselves had assured briefly after the cyberattack that caused the closure, a plan was in place, and sure enough, the pipeline is already beginning to reopen.

Thousands of gas stations around the country have already begun receiving fresh supplies of fuel from the pipeline, though as many stations were affected, not all have received fuel yet. Many stations in the southeast, where panic buying was highest, are still out of or low on fuel.

“Colonial Pipeline is currently shipping at normal rates, based on shipper nominations,” company spokesman Eric Abercrombie said in an email. “It will take some time for the supply chain to fully catch up.”

While the pipeline is reopening and the fuel shortage is in the process of being remedied, the closure has shined a concerning light on potential weaknesses in US infrastructure. Colonial sent a payment of several million dollars in cryptocurrency to the hacker group allegedly responsible for the attack, DarkSide. DarkSide has recently claimed credit for several other recent corporate hacks, though the website they often use to broadcast their messages has gone dark.

“The first thing it shows is just how important our infrastructure is,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told MSNBC. “It’s also shining a light on the importance of cybersecurity and resilience. We are only as strong as our weakest link.”

“This has been a wakeup call on how actors anywhere in the world can impact us right here at home,” Buttigieg told CNBC, adding that the all-of-government response to the hack has “really paid off.”

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7 months ago