‘Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline,’ officials warn

National

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) – State and federal officials are scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver gasoline in the Southeast U.S. after a hack of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline led to panic-buying that contributed to more than 1,000 gas stations running out of fuel.

There is no gasoline shortage, but if the pipeline shutdown continues past the weekend, it could create broader fuel disruptions.

There’s no imminent shortfall, and thus no need to panic buy gasoline, said Richard Joswick, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global Platts.

However, that’s apparently what is happening in some parts of the U.S.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday tweeted a warning to the public, “Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.”

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The attack raised concerns, once again, about the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline ticked above $3 for the first time since 2016 Wednesday, according to the AAA auto club. Prices begin to rise around this time every year and the AAA auto club said Wednesday that the average price hit $3.008 nationally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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