On May 8, Colonial Pipeline Co.—the largest refined oil pipeline in the U.S.—experienced a major cyberattack that resulted in the shutdown of its 5,500 miles of gas pipelines, according to USA Today. While the pipelines run through 13 states—New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Administration (USDOT's FMCSA) issued a regional emergency declaration for those states, as well as Washington, D.C., Arkansas, Kentucky, New York, and Florida, which were also affected. But among those states, a handful of governors are particularly concerned of the impending gas shortages and have declared a state of emergency. Read on to find out which states are taking that precaution.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a gasoline-linked state of emergency on the night of May 11, which will last until Colonial Pipeline is back up and running. "The disruption of Colonial Pipeline operations poses a significant and immediate threat to the continued delivery of such fuel products to the State of Florida and many other states located in the Eastern United States," the governor's executive order states, according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay.
Additionally, the Florida National Guard has been activated by DeSantis' order.
Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp also declared a state of emergency on May 11, which will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on May 15. Kemp also signed an executive order to temporarily suspend the gas tax in Georgia, according to local ABC affiliate WJBF.
"Unfortunately, extensive media coverage has caused people to panic which has resulted in higher gas prices. We are taking action to relieve some of the cost burden from Georgians as Colonial recovers by suspending fuel taxes, increasing the weight limit for supply trucks, and prohibiting price gouging," Kemp said in a statement. "We expect these measures to be temporary as Colonial plans to be fully up and running later this week. There is no need to rush to the gas station to fill up every tank you have and hoard gas." Gasoline price gougers in Georgia will be fined up to $5,000 per violation, WJBF reported.
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On the evening of May 10, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and temporarily suspended gas regulations to ensure there was an adequate supply throughout the state. According to Cooper, the Colonial Pipeline is a primary source of fuel for the Tar Heel State.
"Today's emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel," Cooper said in a statement.
On the afternoon of May 11, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a state of emergency over gas shortage fears. "This emergency declaration will help the Commonwealth prepare for any potential supply shortages and ensure Virginia motorists have access to fuel as we respond to this evolving situation," Northam said in a statement.
Bloomberg reports that gas stations from Virginia to Alabama have already been selling out of gas. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-savings app GasBuddy, told the outlet that an estimated 7 percent of gas stations in Virginia were out of fuel by the end of the day on May 10.