SUMTER, S.C. — A cyberattack on a major fuel pipeline is raising concerns that gas prices and supply could be impacted in South Carolina.
Efforts to restore operations at The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45 percent of fuel used on the east coast, have been underway since its systems were attacked by hackers late last week.
The impact has already started to be felt locally with some gas providers like Corner Pantry in The Midlands posting signs that limit the amount of gas consumers can purchase.
According to Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, gas prices could also increase by five to 15 cents over the next week due to the pipeline issue.
“It’s not a massive spike, but we probably will see prices drift higher,” De Haan said. “It could be a much bigger increase if consumers flock to the pump and drain the system and there’s no gasoline left, then the price increases may become more dramatic, potentially 10 to 25 cents a gallon, so it’s really a little early to call simply because there’s still gasoline out there, but at the onset, this is going to be a slight impact on price, but more so on supply.”
In a Monday afternoon update, Colonial said, segments of its pipeline are being brought back online in a “stepwise fashion.”
It added that, “While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.”
De Hann said the best thing consumers can do is not hoard gas, which could make it more challenging for the system to recover once Colonial is back fully operational, but rather conserve the gas they already have.