On Monday, May 10, 2021 at approximately 8:20 A.M. I found out the United States was going through a gas shortage. At the time, I did not assess the severity of the situation and did not think it was important, but little did I know the effects a gas shortage would have on us.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) blamed the gas cyberline attack on a group of members who call themselves Darkside. They are believed to be based in Russia. At a briefing held on Thursday, May 13, 2021 President Joe Biden told the FBI that he did not believe the Russian government was directly correlated with the gas pipeline cyberattacks that occurred in the United States. Currently, the Darkside’s website has gone offline and any connections to them are disbanded. An executive order aimed at strengthening United States security was issued. It included the Cyber Safety Review Board which is tasked with overviewing major accidents like these and preventing them from happening in the future.
You must be wondering, how did we get to this point? Colonial Pipeline, which is the largest pipeline system for oil products in the United States, is 5,500 miles long and can carry and transport as much as 3 million barrels of fuel between New York and Texas. The company said on Saturday, May 15, 2021 that its pipeline service is now available to states including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Georgia, more than forty percent of gas stations are without fuel. Colonial Pipeline is responsible for a substantial supply of diesel fuel, gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel on the East Coast.
Now the current average gas price has risen to $3.00 per gallon, and that is only the cost for regular diesel gas. Premium gas prices have risen to a whopping $3.60 per gallon. Interestingly, oil prices are the number one predicting factor in motor fuel production. The biggest single component of retail gasoline prices is the cost of the raw material used to produce gasoline, also known as crude oil.
State and federal officials warned people to not frantically panic and intensify the gas shortage situation by purchasing overzealous amounts of gas. But of course, what happens when someone says to not do something? We do it anyways. As humans, we are more inclined to engage in a behavior if we are instructed to not do it beforehand.
As of May 15, 2021, normal operations like delivering fuel to markets has occurred in Atlanta, but one question remains, when will the supply chain return back to normal?