NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — One of the largest gasoline pipelines in the United States remains down after it was a target of a cyber attack over the weekend. Colonial Pipeline executives hope to have it pumping again by the end of the week, but in the meantime, it could cause gasoline supply to drop and prices to soar.
The outage couldn't come at a worse time, as we enter a busy summer travel season. "It all goes on the charge card, joked Issac Bressler, who is traveling with his family from St. Louis down to Disney World.
Experts predict that gas prices will continue to rise at the pump, as long as the pipeline is down. Meanwhile, fuel distributors are hoping to transport in gasoline from other parts of the country to help with supply. That process may take longer than usual too, though, due to a truck driver shortage.
"It will take some time to move that gasoline where it needs to be. So it’s not out of question for some of our local gas stations to be out of gasoline for a couple of days or a number of days. That doesn’t mean that gas is gone forever," said Megan Cooper, spokesperson for AAA Tennessee.
A shortage could get much worse if people start hoarding. Some drivers are already starting to see it. "I have seen a lot of guys filling up their tanks with gas cans," said Thomas Crawford, who commutes frequently from Nashville up to Kentucky for work.
AAA Tennessee says we should remember last year's toilet paper shortage scare. The panic of a shortage actually caused the shortage to be much worse. They're urging everyone to remain calm and only buy what they need.
"The way we react to certain things can make things worse," said Cooper. "The best thing drivers can do is stick to those responsible fueling habits. If you stick to your regular schedule, more than likely you’ll be able to find that gasoline somewhere in that market."
Cooper says this is also a good reminder of the infrastructure improvements our country needs. "This brings to light how important our infrastructure is, even our IT infrastructure. So that’s something as we grow as a country, as we grow as a region, that should be really top of mind," she said.
Even after the Colonial Pipeline reopens, Cooper warns that it could still take several days for the gas market to stabilize. "Once that pipeline is restarted, it will take a couple of days to move that gasoline from the gulf coast here to our local Tennessee gas stations," she said.