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Delays Persist as Colonial Pipeline Restarts

East Coast drivers continue to face long lines as gas stations as the Colonial Pipeline gets back up and running.
Posted at 6:22 PM, May 13, 2021

The Colonial Pipeline may have restarted operations, but a panic-fueled gas shortage is still in full swing. 

"How many stations do you think you passed before you came here?" Bianca Facchinei, Newsy economics reporter, asked. 

"Five. I just went down Route 1 and it [GasBuddy] told me to come here," Andrew Sese, a Virginia resident said.

Over half of stations across Virginia ran out of gas by Thursday morning — delivering yet another blow to an industry already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Business is really going to be affected. There's no gas, no money coming in," Yahya Hussain with Old Town Auto Care said.

And many stations, like Old Town Auto Care, don't know when they'll be getting in another shipment, which leaves lots of questions about supply chain stability. The pipeline is responsible for almost half of the gasoline supply on the East Coast, and carries jet fuel for some of the nation's busiest airports. This means that businesses up and down the pipeline could have a difficult time reaching customers if the shortages spread to diesel, even more so now, as many consumers rely on online shopping due to the pandemic. 

Prices are still hovering around $3 a gallon, but lawmakers have made it clear that predatory price hikes will not be tolerated.

"We want sellers to know that if they are taking advantage of this moment, of people's demand and need to make a quick buck, that's price gouging and we will come after them," Josh Stein, Attorney General of North Carolina said.

Experts have been stressing that there's plenty of fuel in the country to supply drivers. It's unclear how much longer the shortage will last here in Virginia, and other affected states, but the company says it'll be several days until we return to normal.