March 26, 2023

Cooper declares state of emergency amid fuel pipeline shutdown

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, temporarily lifting commercial motor vehicle operations regulations.

The Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline reported a ransomware attack Friday, resulting in a disruption of fuel services. Cooper’s office said the pipeline is North Carolina’s leading source of fuel. Gas tracking website GasBuddy reported some North Carolina gas stations have run out of fuel.

“Today’s emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel,” Cooper said in a statement.

Colonial Pipeline’s 5,500-mile system is the largest refined products pipeline system in the U.S. It provides about 45% of the fuel on the East Coast between Texas and New York.

AAA officials said the Colonial shutdown has caused a rise in gas prices and could cause a greater impact in the region as it persists. 

AAA reported the national gas price average jumped 6 cents to $2.96 this week and could increase by 3 cents more if the trend continues, making the national average the most expensive since November 2014. North Carolina’s average gas prices range from $2.78 a gallon for regular fuel to $3.42 a gallon for premium fuel, both up 11 cents from a week ago, according to AAA. North Carolina also has a motor fuel tax rate of 36.1 cents a gallon.

“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally, AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said. “Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week. These states may see prices increase 3 to 7 cents this week.”

AAA said consumers could see a 15- to 18-day delay in fuel services after the pipeline is restored.

Cooper’s order waives the maximum service hours for drivers and certain fees and lifts vehicle weight restrictions.

This article was originally posted on Cooper declares state of emergency amid fuel pipeline shutdown

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