MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – With news that a major gas supply line to the east coast was shut down due to a cyberattack, many drivers in South Florida decided now was the time to top off the tank before fuel runs out.
Long lines have formed at some stations and rumors have spread on social media and by word of mouth about possible shortages. The thing is, Florida’s supply should not be as affected as other states, since most of Florida’s fuel is delivered by ship, according to AAA.
Port Everglades posted on Twitter that South Florida’s supply is expected to remain consistent.
Rumors about gas shortages have led to panic buying and AAA said that is the biggest threat to supply.
“This is not a refinery issue. Gasoline is still being made and fuel continues sailing through Florida ports, regardless of whether Colonial Pipeline is operational,” said AAA’s Mark Jenkins. “Florida is said to have access to plenty of gasoline. It’s now just a matter of getting the fuel where it’s needed, primarily those gas stations that are being tapped out due to panic buying.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, whose office oversees gas stations, says at the moment Florida is fine. “Consumers can prevent strain on fuel supplies by not panic-buying gas, not hoarding gas, and not forming long lines at gas stations, and fuel continues to flow around Florida,” she said in a statement.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of Emergency Tuesday, in light of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. The pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.
“This pipeline doesn’t actually touch Florida, but it does feed into many of our gas stations, so we’ve declared a state of emergency. We started lifting restrictions to be able to get more fuel into pumps,” he said on Fox News.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced additional help for 10 states affected by the cyberattack: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Experts and officials have pleaded with Americans not to hoard gasoline in the wake of the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. “Panic buying of gas right now will create an artificial demand that will make all of this much worse,” said AAA spokesman Moran Dean.
Yet US gasoline demand climbed by 14% on Tuesday compared with the week before, according to GasBuddy. At midnight on Wednesday, GasBuddy reported that nearly 1,800 gas stations were out of gasoline in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.
Colonial said they hope to have the issues resolved by the end of the week.
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