A cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline system led to a gas shortage on May 11 as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and panicked patrons flocked to local gas stations to fill up their cars, boats, and other motor vehicles.
In the Fox Hill section of Hampton, Harris Teeter, 7-Eleven, and a Sunoco station ran out of gasoline quickly following the governor’s announcement. The Mobile and Exxon stations on Monticello Avenue and the BP gas station on Centerville Road in Williamsburg also ran out of fuel. A Mobile employee turned a long line of customers away, stating he was unsure when they would have more gasoline.
The gas shortage comes after the Colonial Pipeline system, the primary fuel source for many Virginian gas stations, reported a ransomware cyberattack on May 7 that resulted in a temporary shutdown. Many gas stations on the Southside and in North Carolina also ran out of gas.
Following the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a temporary fuel transportation waiver to increase the supply of gasoline. Governor Northam’s emergency declaration on May 11 also allows state agencies to issue their own waivers as required by the state. The governor’s order also provides increased flexibility and funding for state and local governments to ensure adequate fuel supply.
“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,” the governor said.
The Colonial Pipeline is hoping to restore services by May 14.