Is it 1979 all over again? Across the United States, motorists are reporting shortages and long lines at their local gasoline stations, resulting in higher prices for the remaining gallons customers can get their hands on. This comes after Colonial Pipeline, responsible for 45% of the fuel consumed along the eastern seaboard, halted pipeline operations over the weekend following a ransomware attack by a group of criminal hackers known as DarkSide. The incident, the choice to suspend deliveries, and the length of the suspension could impact millions of U.S. consumers over the coming days. Forget the happy days of FDR – the nation is repeating the former President Jimmy Carter era.
Biden Updates the Nation
President Joe Biden spoke from the White House on May 10, updating the American people on what is going on and reassuring the public that his administration will take additional steps to protect America’s pipeline infrastructure.
Based on the multiple briefings he has received, Biden said, President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government were not involved in the ransomware attack. Moreover, the Kremlin had already denied claims that it ignited the cyberattacks.
National security officials and the DarkSide organization confirmed that the cyberattack was motivated by money. It is unclear if Colonial paid up as the administration refrained from commenting on the subject, noting that the FBI encouraged victims of ransomware attacks not to pay hackers. Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, told reporters:
“Typically that’s a private sector decision. We recognize that victims of cyberattacks often face a very difficult situation and they have to just balance often the cost-benefit when they have no choice with regards to paying a ransom. Colonial is a private company and we’ll defer information regarding their decision on paying a ransom to them.”
For now, the Department of Energy is leading a federal response that will involve the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI. FireEye Mandiant, a large cybersecurity firm, is also partnering with Colonial Pipeline to resolve the issue. The company announced in a statement that it plans to restore service by the end of the week. In the meantime, states are responding to the crisis, including North Carolina, which declared a state of emergency and temporarily halted vehicle fuel regulations to cushion the blows.
No Supply Issues?
During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the administration does not see a supply issue. However, local media reports from all the affected states, from Alabama to Tennessee, and social media posts show something completely different.
“This is crazy. I stopped for gas just now having no idea what was happening. It’s out. People here told me they’d been to other stations and found the same,” Greg Suskin of WSOC9 tweeted.
“This gas station in Robbinsville is all out of gas. Clerk said manager told her it could be five days before they have gas again. Says phone has been ringing off the hook of people calling around to find gas,” wrote Caitlyn Penter of WLOS 13.
A couple of Twitter users are selling people information about nearby pumps that have some premium gasoline left, charging as much as $10 for the location. Others are referring to how this is representative of “Biden’s America,” while also pointing to the shortages and long lines of the 1970s.
Gasoline prices have been soaring during the energy recovery as national average prices have been flirting with $3 per gallon. Prices have already surged six cents on the week, and industry observers warn that they will likely climb higher amid the major pipeline shutdown. Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, explained in a news release:
“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally. Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.”
Is this a one-off incident, or will more of these cases transpire over the next few years?
Progressivism Fueling an Energy Fiasco?
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden made it clear that he wanted to dismantle the fossil-fuel industry to make room for the transition to renewables. It was not only talk for the feigned moderate as one of his first actions in the Oval Office was putting the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipeline, a multi-billion-dollar project that would have supplied the nation with more fuel and created thousands of jobs. He also suspended oil and gas leases on federal lands. The president’s infrastructure proposal, experts say, is a “death sentence” for natural gas as it incorporates components of the Green New Deal.
The progressive prattle signed, sealed, and delivered from the administration so far spells doom for America’s energy independence. It took decades for the nation to achieve this lofty goal, and it could take only a handful of executive orders to bulldoze the sector’s accomplishments. Motorists have been proffered a glimpse of what to anticipate in the green future during this week’s chaos at the pump.
Read more from Andrew Moran.