Colonial Pipeline Restarts after Hackers Cause Gas Shortage in US East Coast

By Ralph Curra
JUN. 1, 2021

On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline — which carries jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel from Texas to New York — was shut down by hackers.  According to the Department of Justice, hackers from Eastern Europe were responsible for the attack.  The shut down resulted in gas shortages across the Eastern Seaboard.  Marked by long lines, empty pumps, and high prices, the situation was deemed a crisis by the media.

Though South Floridians observed some of the same effects, local officials confirmed that Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties import their gasoline products through the ports rather than by pipeline.  Many leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have urged the public not to hoard gasoline in efforts to reduce panic.  

On May 12, Colonial Pipeline announced that the pipeline had restarted operations after a $90 million dollar ransom payment was made to the hackers.  Critics argue that the payment encourages other hackers to attempt attacks on other vital US infrastructure, while supporters argue that the payment solved the current gas crisis.  Experts note that gas shortages could continue over the next few days or weeks as the pipeline catches up with demand and panic remains high.

In an address to the nation on May 13, President Biden urged the public to remain calm while verifying that the hackers were of Russian origin.  He noted, however, that the FBI does not believe the Russian government is behind the hacks.

Photo Credit:  Local 10 News