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Fuel shortages begin to ease after Colonial hack

Gasoline shortages along the U.S. East Coast began to ease slightly on Saturday as the nation's biggest fuel pipeline ramped up operations following last week's cyberattack.

Ships and trucks deployed under emergency waivers were filling up dry storage tanks to help stem the shortages.

The six-day Colonial Pipeline shutdown was the most disruptive cyberattack on record, triggering widespread panic buying by U.S. motorists that left stations across the Southeast out of gas.

But the number of gas stations in the east and south experiencing outages fell from 16,200 on Friday to 13,400 on Saturday, according to fuel tracking app GasBuddy.

The national gasoline average for a gallon of regular unleaded climbed to over $3, the most expensive since 2014, according to the American Automobile Association.

U.S. gasoline demand, meanwhile, dropped 12.6% from the previous week, a GasBuddy analyst said, a decline that was likely due to an easing of panic buying just after the pipeline shut.

The hacking group blamed for the attack, DarkSide, said it had hacked four other companies including a Toshiba subsidiary in Germany.

Colonial has not disclosed how much money the hackers were seeking or whether it paid. Bloomberg News and the New York Times reported that it paid nearly $5 million to hackers.

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