Gasoline shortages along the East Coast started to ease a bit on Saturday as the country’s largest fuel pipeline said it had resumed “normal operations” following the ransomware attack May 7. After a six-day outage, Colonial Pipeline is back to “delivering millions of gallons per hour,” the company said in a statement. The company had started the process of reinitiating the 5,500-mile pipeline on Wednesday evening and it took a few days for operations to stabilize.
Although shortages were declining Saturday, there were still thousands of gas stations without enough fuel. More than 13,400 gas stations were still experiencing shortages on Saturday afternoon, which was down from more than 16,000 on Friday. The worst of the shortages took place on Thursday night and by Friday Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told The Associated Press that the country was “over the hump” and things would start improving. “It’s still going to work its way through the system over the next few days, but we should be back to normal fairly soon,” she said.
Colonial Pipeline paid hackers $5 million in cryptocurrency for the key to unscramble their data and end the ransomware attack that marked “the most disruptive cyberattack on record,” notes Reuters. The shortages that came as a result, showed how Americans are paying the price for an energy sector that has “stripped redundancy out of its system, at the risk of leaving customers in the lurch when things go wrong,” notes the Washington Post.