Drivers shouldn’t have a hard time finding gas by Memorial Day, one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year, with disruptions from last week’s cyber attack on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline fading over the next two weeks.
“JUST ahead of Memorial Day weekend or so, finding gasoline shouldn't require too much,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, tweeted on Thursday. “You may occasionally find a station without fuel, but outages should be <20% by then in all areas.”
After nearly a week offline due to a forced temporary shutdown from a cyber attack, Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday it was restarting operation and East Coast fuel delivery would resume.
By Thursday afternoon, the company said the pipeline with its 13-state footprint will be fully operational. Even with help on the way, De Haan expects pump “headaches” lasting as long as two weeks in some parts of Southeast — or just under the wire of summer’s kick-off.
For drivers in Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia, De Haan says “the situation is pretty under control” and he pegs restoration in “about 2 to 5 days” with next to immediate improvement.
Those in Washington, D.C., Florida, Maryland, and Tennessee can expect “about 5 to 12 days of headaches if you need fuel” with De Haan predicting the situation might get worse before it gets better, but the weekend brings promise of turning a corner.
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, which made up the epicenter of the nation’s fuel outages with at least half of the states’ stations report being without gas, will return to normal in seven to 14 days, according to De Haan.
This week, motorists flocked to gas stations throughout the East Coast with the intent to not only fill up their vehicles but arrived with sometimes unconventional reserve containers to fill up as well. The scramble, first concentrated in the Southeast, contributed to a run on gas that stripped some states by as much as two-thirds of their gas supply.
“The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he posted to Twitter.