Drivers seeing more gas available as Colonial Pipeline says it is fully operational

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Officials said the Colonial Pipeline is now fully operational after a cyberattack earlier this week. The pipeline supplies 45% of the fuel along the whole East Coast.

Colonial now says it is delivering fuel to every market it serves, but it will still take several days for the supply chain to return to normal.

Despite the restart, gas prices are still soaring in Georgia.

AAA officials said the average price for gas in Georgia on Thursday was $2.98 a gallon -- up $0.03 since yesterday.

A week ago, drivers were paying $2.73 a gallon. Last year at this time, it was $1.65 per gallon.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan went to Gwinnett County on Thursday where he found larger stations seemed to be getting gas faster than smaller independent stations.

He went to a QT station along Jimmy Carter Boulevard and found no lines all day.

“Every gas station we passed was out of gas, so we stopped here,” driver Amanda Tuck said as she filled up at the QT. “It’s not crowded at all, so I was thinking, ‘Do they have gas or what?’”

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With the Colonial Pipeline back online, more and more gas stations should be receiving fuel shipments over the next two days and fuel outages will begin receding.

“It’s going to be a little bumpy, don’t get me wrong, we will be out of gas, but the big retailers, people like Quick Trip, they have their own fleet,” oil analyst Tom Kloza said.

He told Regan that we’ve likely seen the end of panic buying and hoarding.

“I call it ‘Guzzlegate’ and I think Guzzlegate’s winding down,” Kloza said.

He thinks oil and gas prices should be winding down, too.

“I’ve been saying through this thing, this is not a pricing event. It’s a distribution crisis, and it’s really a crowd behavior crisis, and the crowd behavior is calming, thank God,” Kloza said.

To help ease the gas crisis, Georgia retailers have been allowed to sell a winter blend -- normally suspended for spring and summer.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told Regan that every little bit helps.

“We keep the winter gas in the inventory, the pipeline is back on, Georgia gets back to normal. That is certainly what our goal is,” Black said.

“Does it look like the situation is improving?” Regan asked driver Jamison Phillips.

“It does, because yesterday, it was like a line. There’s no lines now,” Phillips said.

AAA officials said they expect gas prices to drop next week as supply becomes more widely available.