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As Colonial Pipeline remains offline, 'spotted' fuel outages possible at La. gas pumps

8 months 1 week 2 days ago Monday, May 10 2021 May 10, 2021 May 10, 2021 9:27 PM May 10, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - By the afternoon commute Monday, 'No Gas' signs or bagged fuel pumps appeared sporadically at gas stations across the capital area, four days after a ransomware attack has shut down the Colonial Pipeline.

"We're starting to see spotted outages, and that's going to continue to happen the longer that this goes on," Natalie Isaacks, executive director of the Louisiana Oil Marketers Convenience Store Association, said. "We do ask that people have a little bit [of] patience."

The Colonial pipeline remains offline following a Friday ransomware attack. The pipeline, which spans from Houston to New Jersey runs right through Louisiana.

In Opelousas, which serves as a delivery location for the pipeline, one terminal that serves as a large distribution hub for gas stations, had no fuel available Monday, only diesel.

Now, delivery drivers, who are already in short supply, may have to drive farther to pick up a smaller than normal allocation of fuel.

"Right now, because it is an emergency situation, everybody is kind of limited on the amount of fuel they can pick up," Isaacks said. "It trickles down to their stores."

Isaacks represents 3400 fuel stations statewide. She says any fuel shortages or outages in Louisiana are pipeline-related but adds drivers shouldn't be any panic.

"I don't anticipate it being a real big problem," Isaacks said. "Again, I wouldn't wait until you were on 'E' to get your fuel, but I also wouldn't be topping off."

Louisiana, which has an abundance of fuel and fuel-making ability is in a better position than many of the states that rely on the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the East Coast's fuel.

"We are closer to the gulf, we're closer to where we make fuel, so we can drive and get it," Isaacks said. "These other states are going to have to rely more on either trucking the fuel up or sending barges to get their fuel."

Officials are hoping to have the pipeline at least partially restored by weeks-end. For now, Isaacks says drivers should simply take notice of, and be prepared for, possible interruptions or shortages. She notes, however, that could change.

"I think the longer this goes, we're going to feel it more," Isaacks said.

As of Monday, some states relying on the Colonial Pipeline for a portion of its fuel saw a rise in gas per gallon. Louisiana, however, remained near the lowest average price at $2.64 per gallon.

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