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TRANSPORTATION

Illinois group says gas shortage unlikely here

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May.11 -- Gas stations along the East Coast of the United States are selling out of supplies as the largest North American pipeline remains shut from a paralyzing cyberattack. Bloomberg’s Jamie Tarabay reports.

MOUNT VERNON — The cyber attack of the Colonial Pipeline on the East Coast, which has caused gas shortages in several states, is unlikely to be a long-term problem, according to the Illinois Oil and Gas Association.

"I think it's temporary and local. People are aggravating (the problem) by buying gas for everything they can," said Robert Stewart, executive vice president, of the Mount Vernon group. 

Running from Texas to New York, the Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45% of all fuel to the East Coast. It was hit by a cybersecurity attack that prompted officials to shut the pipeline down.

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Since the Colonial Pipeline doesn't serve the entire country, Stewart said, problems with distribution ae unlikely to spread to the Midwest and other parts of the country. The only problem he can foresee, he said, is if people start panic-buying gas as they bought cleaning supplies and toilet paper at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A large part of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order suspending the state's gas tax to help motorists deal with higher prices caused by the shortage, while North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Monday, which allows the suspension of some fuel regulations to ensure an adequate supply of gas.

Kentucky's average price per gallon increased 12 cents in just a week. In Virginia, 7.7% of the state’s nearly 3,900 gas stations reported running out of fuel Tuesday, according to Gasbuddy.com, which tracks supply. In North Carolina, 8.5% of almost 5,400 stations were out, the company said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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