Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency over pipeline shutdown, gas shortage

Colonial Pipeline provides fuel to East Coast

Florida leaders say 'panic buying' not necessary after pipeline cyber attack
Florida leaders say 'panic buying' not necessary after pipeline cyber attack

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida governor issued an emergency order Tuesday evening as drivers quickly drained pumps in fear of a gas shortage tied to the Colonial Pipeline closure.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order waives size and weight restrictions to support efforts to transport gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. The Florida Department of Transportation will issue permits under special circumstances, according to the order.

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The order is in response to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack forcing the pipeline to temporarily halt operations Friday to contain the hack. The pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard.

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, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

“The sudden and unexpected closure of Colonial Pipeline and the attending disruption of fuel supplies poses a severe threat to the state of Florida and requires that immediate measures be taken to protect and to facilitate the continued delivery of such fuel products to this State, until such time as Colonial Pipeline operations have fully resumed,” DeSantis’ emergency order reads.

Central Florida drivers are already reporting long lines and outages at gas pumps. Across the state, 3% of gas stations are out of fuel, according to The Associated Press.

The average gasoline price jumped six cents to $2.96 over the past week, and it’s expected to continue climbing because of the pipeline closure, according to AAA. Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia to Delaware are the most likely to experience limited fuel availability and higher prices, and if the national average rises by three more cents, these would be the highest prices since November 2014, according to AAA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.