Several states along the east coast announced a state of emergency on Tuesday following gas shortages and panic buys from citizens worried that supply will soon run out.
Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia have all declared states of emergency, allowing them to call on the National Guard for any assistance required for state and local cooperation.
Citizens of these states have begun buying gas at an alarming rate, causing gas stations to run dry all along the east coast.
Approximately 30% of gas stations in Atlanta, Georgia are completely out of gas according to data out of GasBuddy. Reports from CNN estimate that 8% of gas stations have run dry in Virginia and around 3% in Florida.
These panic buys have been driven by the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that took place last Friday May 7. A cyber criminal group known as DarkSide is believed to have locked down portions of Colonial’s business servers, providing the decryption key upon ransom payment.
President Joe Biden and members of the White House have urged citizens not to hoard gas, claiming that the Colonial Pipeline will resume operation within a few days. “We are asking people not to hoard,” said US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “Things will be back to normal soon.”
The recent cyber attack on Colonial has shown how vulnerable U.S. infrastructure is to such an attack, with Ohio Senator Rob Portman calling the attack “the most substantial and damaging attack on critical
U.S. infrastructure ever.”