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World US motorists urged not to hoard fuel

03:55  12 may  2021
03:55  12 may  2021 Source:   bbc.com

Brisbane motorists facing 'obscene rip-off' as the city once more becomes the nation's most expensive capital city for unleaded fuel

  Brisbane motorists facing 'obscene rip-off' as the city once more becomes the nation's most expensive capital city for unleaded fuel South-east Queensland drivers filling up their tanks this weekend will be paying the highest prices of all the capital cities in Australia for unleaded petrol, with the fuel cycle showing although prices are slow to rise, they are even slower to come down again. 'Don't throw your money away'Mr Trotter said he would be loath to see Queensland legislation forcing a weekly cycle, preferring a price cap instead. "If oil companies are prepared to sell fuel at some point in the cycle as low as 4 or 5 cents a litre and then they want 45 at the top, then a reasonable margin for them would be in the order of 15 cents a litre," he said.

US motorists have been urged not to hoard fuel as a major US fuel pipeline remained shut down after a cyber-attack.

a police car parked on the side of a road © Getty Images

Petrol stations from Florida to Virginia began running dry and pump prices rose.

The average price for petrol stood at $2.98 (£2.11) per gallon on Tuesday, its highest since November 2014, the American Automobile Association said.

Some motorists in the south east were pictured stocking up on fuel.

But US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said there was no need for motorists to hoard petrol.

Ms Granholm said there was not a shortage but a supply "crunch" in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and southern Virginia, regions that typically rely on Colonial for fuel.

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Colonial attack

A ransomware cyber-attack on Friday forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down the main part of its network.

The operator has forecast that it will not substantially restore operations of the 5,500-mile (8,900km) pipeline network that supplies nearly half of the East Coast's fuel until the end of the week.

The FBI has accused a criminal gang called DarkSide of the ransomware attack.

The gang is believed to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe and avoids targeting computers that use languages from former Soviet republics, cyber experts said.

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock computers by encrypting data and demanding payment to regain access.

Russia's embassy in the US rejected speculation that the country's government was behind the attack.

US pipeline still days away from operating after cyberattack

  US pipeline still days away from operating after cyberattack The closure will hurt fuel availability, push up prices and force refiners to cut production with no way to ship gas.The privately owned Colonial Pipeline Company said on Monday it was working on restarting in phases with “the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.

President Joe Biden a day earlier said there was no evidence so far that Russia was responsible.

Emergency measures

More than 7% of petrol stations in Virginia and 5% in North Carolina had no fuel on Tuesday as demand jumped 20%, tracking firm GasBuddy said.

  • Colonial hack: How did cyber-attackers shut off pipeline?
  • US fuel pipeline hackers 'didn't mean to create problems'

On Tuesday, the government stepped in to issue an emergency fuel waiver lasting one week, designed to help alleviate any shortages.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the move, which relaxes some rules usually applied to fuel, would run until 18 May in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.

In addition, Georgia suspended sales tax on petrol until Saturday.

On Monday North Carolina declared a state of emergency and temporarily suspended vehicle fuel regulations "to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state".

Governors Warn Gas Shortage Caused by Panic Buying As 4 States Declare Emergency

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While the pipeline outage is having short-term consequences in some regions, some experts believe the longer term impact will be small.

"Markets will go crazy, but two weeks later no one knows it happened," said Chuck Watson, director of research at Enki, which studies the economic effects of natural and other disasters.

Price rises

Fuel prices were expected to rise with the start of the summer driving season, although the US Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday that the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic would "significantly affect petroleum markets in the summer of 2021".

The pipeline shutdown contributed to the rise in fuel prices, the AAA said.

"We might see the delivery challenges due to the attack add a few cents to the expected increase in the national average," a spokesperson added.

Georgia man arrested after allegedly drilling hole in U-Haul truck to steal fuel, police say .
A Georgia man has been arrested after he allegedly drilled holes in the tank of a parked U-Haul truck to steal gas during the ongoing fuel shortage, police said Thursday. The suspect, Jesse Smith, 25, managed to collect just five gallons of fuel, and his actions caused a massive gasoline spill in Griffin, Georgia, police said. Firefighters worked in the rain through Wednesday afternoon to clean up the spill. Police said it was caused by damage to the fuel tank, which had been intentionally punctured.

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