Gas shortage in North Carolina, $5 a gallon in Los Angeles from Cyberattack

Across the country, commuters are feeling the gas shortage in their pockets. 

Just as cities open back up and schools welcome students, families are hit with an expected expense—petro. Well, if there is any.

The governor of North Carolina declared a state of Emergency for vehicle regulations after cities and towns across the state reported that they’ve run out of gas. In a press statement, Gov. Roy Cooper (R) said that they were responding to fuel interruptions by “temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state.” 

The EPA also issued emergency fuel waivers to impacted areas. On Tuesday, Gov. Cooper participated in calls with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Department of Energy Officials to discuss the heart of the problem—Colonial Pipeline and cyber attacks.

On Monday, Colonial Pipeline announced that it had been hacked. The hackers who identify as DarkSide somehow got access to the company’s network where they were able to introduce a malware program into the system. The pipeline operations, which runs from Linden, New Jersey to Texas was shut off until the company paid a ransom. Its website also went down, but returned on Tuesday.

| Read: Frigid temperatures break down Texas infrastructure

Ransomware gangs, or groups launching cyber attacks is a major concern for energy companies and even cities. In January 2020, New Orleans networks were hacked. While no ransom demands  were requested, it took the city months to stabilize. NOLA is part of a growing list of municipalities, states and even federal government agencies that experienced some type of cyber intrusion.

In December 2020, as the Department of Treasury worked with businesses to dole out PPP loans, along with the IRS, it was compromised when hackers got access to emails. Reported to be espionage by a foreign government, it caused grave concern in the Trump Administration.

The attack sent a domino effect across the country. While the national average for gas prices is $2.98, California’s average is $4.10 in a day. In Los Angeles, some pumps are charging up to $5.00.

“This is hard for us who are still getting back on their feet,” said a Fran Brown who now is commuting to work and juggling dropping off her children to school with her husband who is a medical professional.

Along with skyrocketing gas prices are retro hoarders. So much so, in North Carolina, the governor asked residents to report price gouging. According to Gov. Cooper, “North and South Carolina, along with Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia are expected to be most impacted by the pipeline shutdown, [but] significant fuel supply shortages are not expected and normal operations are anticipated to restart in the coming days.”

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