Although more than half of North Carolina’s gas stations remain out of fuel, an industry analyst reported Sunday that the state appears to be at the “epicenter of restoration efforts” following a ransomware attack that crippled a major southeastern U.S. pipeline.
According to GasBuddy, a website that tracks fuel prices and petroleum industry trends, the percentage of stations in North Carolina without gas dropped below 60% for the first time since Wednesday, when outages peaked at 74%. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis with GasBuddy, tweeted that as of Sunday morning about 59% of the state’s gas stations are out of fuel. That’s a 5-percentage-point drop from Saturday night, when the state’s outage rate stood at 64%.
“Based on GasBuddy data, the epicenter of restoration efforts appears to be North Carolina at present time,” De Haan tweeted Sunday.
North Carolina gas stations are still seeing one of the highest outage rates in the Southeast as the region struggles to keep up with demand following a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline Co. earlier this month. Bloomberg reported that the company paid almost $5 million to an Eastern European hacker group that carried out the attack.
Gov. Roy Cooper last week attributed the shortages largely to “panic buying” at the pump, saying in a press release it would take several days for fuel tankers to move supplies of gasoline to stations across the state after Colonial restarted operations Wednesday.
In the meantime, Cooper urged North Carolina residents to not to fuel up unless it was absolutely necessary and to cut down on driving where possible.
De Haan last week predicted about “7 to 14 days of headaches” for North Carolina drivers before things return to normal, The News & Observer reported.
As of Sunday morning, De Haan said GasBuddy data showed nearly 13,000 gas stations out of fuel in the Southeast, a number likely to increase early in the week.
“Current trends indicate overnight improvements in the morning that partially erode as the day wears on with outages then rising again towards midnight,” De Haan tweeted Sunday morning. “Again highlighting that it will take time to chisel away at outages.”
Drivers can search GasBuddy’s tracking app — available at tracker.gasbuddy.com — to see which gas stations in their area still have fuel.