Gas prices on the rise and a recent cyber attack could send them higher

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FILE – In this Sept. 8, 2008 file photo traffic on I-95 passes oil storage tanks owned by the Colonial Pipeline Company in Linden, N.J. A major pipeline that transports fuels along the East Coast says it had to stop operations because it was the victim of a cyberattack. Colonial Pipeline said in a statement late Friday that it “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Colonial Pipeline took line 1,2,3 and 4 offline due to a cyberattack. The fuel provider supplies the Southeast and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

According to a briefing page from the company, “Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.”

What to expect

What is clear, Ohio should not be affected by the shutdown, at least where the supply of fuel is concerned. The pipeline runs through these states:

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey.

AAA and Gasbuddy.com each encourage motorists not to “panic buy.”

  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible avoid high-traffic times of the day
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car

Prices on the rise

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Gas prices have been on a steady increase before the cyber attack. With more people heading back to work and traveling around the country, the demand for fuel has risen. Therefore, the prices have also.

According to AAA, prices will climb this week in reaction to the Colonial Pipeline shutting down four of its main lines, which delivers 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel. During the past week, gas prices have risen by six cents nationally and averaged $2.96. In 2014, gas prices averaged 2.99.

“This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally. 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,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson in a news release. “These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.”

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