Colonial Pipeline: Panic buying at US gas stations worries authorities

The good news first: The victims of a hacking attack Colonial Pipeline in the United States resumed operations on Wednesday. But the attack is still having an impact, and in the face of panic buying, the situation at the country's gas stations has worsened.

Thousands of gas stations in the eastern United States ran out of gas on Wednesday, and long queues formed at pumps that were still working. The authorities even warned motorists not to put gasoline in garbage bags after images circulated on online platforms.

Minister of transport Pete Buttigieg said in view of the hamster purchases, fuel should only be filled directly into the tank or into approved containers. “Now is the time to be careful and sensible.” The consumer protection agency CPSC warned of the potentially “fatal consequences”: “Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline. We know that sounds easy, but when people are desperate, they don't think clearly anymore. "

The pipeline operator was targeted by an extortion trojan last week. The largest pipeline in the United States by volume, running from Houston in the state Texas as far as the greater New York area, was therefore temporarily shut down. The operation has now started again. However, the operator warned that it would take "several days" for the fuel supply to return to normal.

Minister Buttigieg basically called on the population to calm down. The government does understand the concerns of the people. "But hamsters don't do it better."

Gasoline price is rising rapidly

The east of the USA is struggling with supply bottlenecks after the hack. In some areas, according to the specialist website GasBuddy, 70 percent of gas stations ran out of gas.

Gasoline prices have risen to their highest level since 2014. Around a dozen states have declared a state of emergency - but this seems to induce many drivers to buy hamsters.

"The public perception is that if the situation is so bad that our governors have to declare a state of emergency, then it has to be really bad and I have to refuel," said Andy Lipow of consulting firm Lipow Oil Associates. "As a result, we have seen demand at gas stations that is two to three times higher than normal, and that makes the situation worse."