WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th May, 2021) US oil industry executives pleaded with Americans on Wednesday not to hoard fuel, saying there would be adequate gasoline for all without the panic buying that has broken out with the shutdown of the United States' largest fuel pipeline due to a cyberattack.
"We encourage consumers to avoid making unnecessary fuel purchases than they would under normal circumstances," American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President Frank Macchiarola said during a press conference. "The transportation system is working hard to deliver fuel. Panic buying and fuel stockpiling ... is putting added strain on the system."
The affected Colonial pipeline delivers about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast of the United States and its shutdown has left many fuel stations in the region without supply, forcing motorists to hunt for gasoline anywhere they could find it.
Social media has highlighted tales of people trying to fill their tanks even when they had adequate supply, causing long lines at fuel stations that were still working.
"I'm talking about talking to retailers who've sold several days worth of inventory within a few hours,", Petroleum Marketers Association of America President Rob Underwood told the press conference. "This is causing a great major supply shortage that really doesn't do anything to help the process and doesn't benefit anyone in the long run. I also can't stress enough that the high gas prices resulting from this do not benefit small business, gas station owners and consumers."
The last time Americans scrambled for fuel in this manner was after the 2012 Hurricane Sandy, which knocked out power for a week or more across the East Coast of the United States.
However, this time the average price of gasoline has soared on the disruption to a seven-year high of around $3 per gallon.
Colonial Pipeline Company, the operator of the affected pipeline, said it has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels or 41 million gallons to various delivery points along its supply system since the closure of its system. The operator said it was working to bring the pipeline back online and will provide updates as the restoration progresses.