Gasoline Prices Rise After Pipeline Cyberattack

Gasoline Prices Rise After Pipeline Cyberattack

Gas Nears Six-Year High

The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, which shut down the US’s largest fuel pipeline, could disrupt access to gasoline for millions of people and drive prices higher at the gas pump.

The 5,500-mile pipeline, which transports gasoline from Texas to New Jersey, likely will not be restored until the end of the week at the earliest. This is causing gasoline prices in affected regions to surge. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas crept up to $2.96 per gallon and is poised to surpass $2.99—a six-and-a-half-year high. Mississippi, Tennessee, and states on the East Coast from Georgia to Delaware could see gasoline prices increase by $0.03 to $0.07 this week.

Details of the Ransomware Attack

The Colonial Pipeline, which transports 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast, was shut down Friday after a ransomware attack. DarkSide, a criminal hacker group, claimed responsibility. Security researchers believe the group is based in Eastern Europe. DarkSide says its only intention is to make money and that it is not backed by a foreign government.

When a ransomware attack takes place, hackers lock up a company’s data until they pay a ransom, typically in the form of cryptocurrency. Colonial Pipeline said it will take time to restore its network and that it will bring segments of the pipeline back online in phases.

Southern States in the Crosshairs

The Biden Administration issued an emergency waiver in response, extending the hours of truck drivers delivering fuel in the affected states. The White House said it is ready to take more action if the pipeline does not come back online soon.

Southern states on the eastern seaboard which depend on the pipeline could face gas outages later this week. Every day that the pipeline remains shut means higher gas prices for millions of people. However, cybersecurity experts are working to restore pipeline operations as soon as possible. The White House has also called for increased investments in the infrastructure necessary to prevent future crippling cyberattacks.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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