Metro Atlanta drivers frustrated as gas prices rise due to pipeline cyberattack

ATLANTA — Throughout metro Atlanta, drivers are getting increasingly more frustrated at the pump as the prices rise, that is if they can find a station with fuel at all.

Late last week, a cyberattack shut down a major pipeline that runs through Georgia and the Southeast.

According to Bloomberg News, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline, Tim Felt, held a private meeting with state leaders. In this meeting, Felt reportedly told them his company was in the process of developing an extensive restart plan but would not resume shipments until the ransomware was removed. Channel 2′s Michael Seiden is working to confirm those reports.

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This news leaves drivers across the Southeast wondering what this might mean for the prices at the pump.

It has been four days since the Alpharetta-based company was forced to shut down operations, and it is already having a direct effect on drivers.

In fact, one driver Channel 2 Action News encountered was hoping to fill up at a Cobb County gas station, but found the station had no gas and all the pumps had been shut off.

“Somebody told me, ‘Get gas today because the price is about to go up,’ so I needed gas anyway, so I was just going to fill the tank up, but now, now there’s nothing here,” said Jaramine Morrow.

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Chief Oil Analyst for the Oil Price Information System Tom Kloza says this pipeline is the most important one in North America.

Seiden spoke with Kloza over the weekend about the greater impacts this could have on the Southeast.

“Unfortunately, the Southeast, thanks to spring break and more open cities than the rest of the country, is a little bit tighter on supply than the rest of the country...I think you stay calm and you recognize that if the pipeline starts in a few days, everything is going to be fine,” said Kloza.

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In 2008 and 2016, problems along the pipeline caused gas shortages around metro Atlanta.

Industrial security expert Robert Lee puts in systems for operations like Colonial’s pipeline and is often called to investigate after a breach. He believes having so many people work from home is giving hackers another way to breach a system.

According to AAA, the average gasoline price jumped six cents over the last weekend and could continue to climb. If the national average reaches $3, these would be the highest gas prices since 2014.