Pipeline Shutdown Sparks Fear Of US Gasoline Shortage

Pipeline shutdown sparks fear of US gasoline shortage

Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th May, 2021 ) :Fears the shutdown of a major fuel pipeline network would cause a gasoline shortage led to some panic buying and prompted US regulators on Tuesday to temporarily suspend clean fuel requirements in three eastern states and the nation's capital.

While it remained unclear the degree to which supplies would be affected, drivers lined up to fill their tanks at gas stations in the southeast, with some carrying extra containers amid fears of fuel scarcity.

A ransomware attack Friday on Colonial Pipeline forced the company to shut down its entire network, but government officials on Tuesday urged calm and said the situation is only temporary.

The operator of the largest fuel conduit system in the United States, Colonial Pipeline sends gasoline and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast of Texas to the populous east coast through 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of ducts that serve 50 million consumers.

The company said it expects to have the pipeline network fully up and running by the end of the week.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said some areas "may feel a supply crunch, as Colonial fully resumes.

" However, "there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline, especially in the light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend," she told reporters at the White House.

The shutdown raised fears the shortages would cause gasoline prices to spike just ahead of the US Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial kickoff to the summer travel season.

But Granholm called on station owners to act responsibly and said, "We will have no tolerance for price gouging." The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday announced a one-week suspension of clean air rules in an effort to ease supply issues.

The waiver is meant "to address the fuel supply emergency caused by a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline's computer networks that led to the pipeline's shutdown," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a letter to the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia and the mayor of Washington.

Regan said the EPA and Energy Department "have been actively monitoring the supply of fuel" and found that "the unusual pipeline shutdown has affected gasoline supplies."