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Virginians fill up on fuel as Commonwealth faces potential gasoline shortage

FBI: Russian hackers are to blame for shutdown, but pipeline should be up by the weekend

State of Emergency in Virginia due to shutdown of essential fuel pipeline
State of Emergency in Virginia due to shutdown of essential fuel pipeline

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – Virginia is under a State of Emergency due to potential gas shortages, after the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

At 5,500 miles long, it serves as the primary source of fuel for much of the east coast.

According to the FBI, Russian hackers are to blame, but it should be up and running by the end of the week.

In Campbell County, motorists filled up on fuel Tuesday, concerned over soaring prices at the pump.

“Just filling up my tank, topping it off, and filling up a gas can just in case,” said one motorist.

“I saw [the shutdown] on the news this morning, and yea, it concerned me a little bit. Prices are high enough,” said another.

AAA spokesman, Morgan Dean, says Virginians could be affected.

“The longer this outage goes along the pipeline, the bigger the impact could be on us seeing more and more stations running out of fuel; and what stations do have fuel, selling it at higher prices because of demand,” said Dean.

The Commonwealth saw a three-cent increase overnight, and it could continue to climb.

AAA recommends drivers fill up once their vehicle reaches a quarter of a tank. They’re asking people to be prepared, but not panic.

“If they’re panic-buying gas every time they’re out, refilling as quickly as possible, that’s going to create artificial demand and that’s going to cause problems down the road,” said Dean.

At a Citgo station on Timberlake Road, manager Muhammad Tahir says if he doesn’t get a delivery soon, he may run out.

“I think it’s concerning, as we don’t know when it’s going to be fixed,” said Tahir.

As of Tuesday afternoon, he said he had plenty of regular gasoline. Tahir ordered diesel and premium Monday.

“They’re not saying anything right now. They’re saying that it could take up to a week or so; so we have to just sit and wait,” said Tahir.

At a 76-gas station down the road, manager Jerry Etheridge isn’t too concerned at the moment.

“Right now, we’ve had no problem. Our loads are all coming in on regular schedule. Whether that changes over the next few weeks, I don’t know,” said Etheridge.

The managers hope they won’t have to raise prices.

“It’s a time when we should take care of our community instead of thinking about money,” said Tahir.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.