Update: Kemp declares State of Emergency, suspends collection of state fuel tax, to help offset potential fuel shortage

UpdateGov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order temporarily suspending the collection of the state gas tax and increasing the weight limit on trucks transporting fuel to avoid any worsing of any potential fuel shortage due to the cyberattack of the Colonial pipeline system.

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Initial story

Whether it is the result of the ransomware cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline over the weekend, an ongoing break in delivery due to a shortage of drivers, panic buying on the threat of a potential gas shortage, or a combination of all three, the result is gas prices are on the rise and some gas stations don’t have any to supply.

Gas pumps at Murphy in Monroe, Ga. were out of fuel on Monday, May 10, 2021.

The Colonial Pipeline, a major pipeline system that transports fuel across much of the East Coast, was the victim of a ransomware attack Saturday. If it doesn’t get back up and running soon, the fear is that it could lead to widespread outages and increased gas prices. This is being reported in all major news media and that is sure to cause panic. But even before that, prices had been on the rise and supplies were inconsistent.

Murphy Gas Station at Walmart in Monroe was completely out on Monday afternoon, May 10, and has been for three days already. That was from even before the Colonial Pipeline was shut down. All the pumps are currently roped off with yellow caution tape and a clerk confirmed they have been completely out for the past three days. She said they are waiting on a delivery, that should have arrived Sunday. At 4 p.m. Monday, it was still not there.

The prices at gas stations that do have are already up significantly since the beginning of the year. According to Gasbuddy.com, the national average price of gas in the USA is up 74 c/gal from $2.23 in January 2021 to $2.97 today. A year ago the average gas price was $1.84.

Gas prices in Monroe range from $2.65 to $2.94, in Loganville from $2.64 to $2.89, and in Social Circle prices are already over $3 a gallon with gas at the BP on Highway 11 at $3.03. (Editor’s Note: Click or tap on the link for updates as these rates are consistently changing.)

Colonial Pipeline is updating the situation with the cyberattack daily on its website. At 12:25 p.m. on Monday, May 10, it wrote:

“Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.”

It continued, noting that restoring the network is a process and said the operations team is executing a plan that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach.

“We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter,” it noted.

Try not to panic, because that will certainly exacerbate the situation. But if you drive past a gas station that seems to still have reasonably priced fuel, now may be a good time to fill up.

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