Granholm: Gas Lines Should Be Back to Normal Quickly

Biden official urges drivers not to hoard though fuel pipeline is back in business
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2021 2:00 PM CDT
Granholm: Gas Lines Should Be Back to Normal Quickly
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the nation is "over the hump" on gas shortages following a ransomware cyberattack that forced a shutdown of the nation’s largest gasoline pipeline. Problems peaked Thursday night, and service should return to normal in most areas by the end of the weekend, Granholm said Friday, the AP reports. "The good news is that ... gas station outages are down about 12% from the peak" as of Friday afternoon, with about 200 stations returning to service every hour, she said. "It's still going to work its way through the system over the next few days, but we should be back to normal fairly soon.'' A cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them hit the Colonial Pipeline on May 7. The hackers didn't take control of operations, but the Georgia-based company shut the pipeline down to prevent malware from affecting industrial control systems.

The Colonial Pipeline stretches from Texas to New Jersey and delivers about 45% of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast. The shutdown has caused shortages at pumps throughout the South and emptied stations in the Washington, DC, area. President Biden said US officials do not believe the Russian government was involved, but he said, "We do have strong reason to believe that the criminals who did the attack are living in Russia.'' The company had paid a ransom of about $5 million. Granholm urged drivers not to panic or hoard gasoline. "Really, the gasoline is coming,'' she said. “If you take more than what you need, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of the shortages." Granholm said the attack shows the vulnerability not only of US infrastructure, but also personal computers. Her 86-year-old mother recently suffered a ransomware attack on her iPad, Granholm said. "So it's just happening everywhere,'' she said.

(Read more Colonial Pipeline stories.)

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