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Despite pleas against hoarding gas, Lowcountry drivers see delays at gas stations

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Drivers are reporting long lines at a handful of Lowcountry gas stations Tuesday as concern grows about a pipeline shutdown.

Earlier Tuesday, one driver said she waited for about 45 minutes to top off her tank at the Costco in West Ashley.

Parker’s sent customers an email Tuesday afternoon stating it would implement a temporary $50 fuel purchase limit.

“The Parker’s fuel team is working diligently to keep our tanks filled in the wake of this unexpected situation,” the email states. “While we understand that this is an inconvenience, know that we are doing everything we can to source fuel and keep gas readily available for our customers.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster took to Twitter to urge people not to rush to gas stations.

“There is no need to rush to top off your gas tanks or hoard gas,” the governor posted on Twitter. “The pipeline is expected to resume operations by the end of the week.”

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The 5,500-mile pipeline, which stretches from Texas through southern states including South Carolina to New Jersey, had to be temporarily shut down after hackers accessed the pipeline’s computer systems.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard, shut down Friday after a ransomware attack by gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide.

Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the incident could impact millions of consumers. Experts say there’s no imminent gasoline shortfall, and thus no need for panic buying. But if the shutdown drags on for weeks or more, it could lead to price spikes and low supplies at some gas stations.

The 5,500-mile pipeline extends from Texas to New Jersey and goes through South Carolina.

President Joe Biden said Monday he does not think the Russian government is to blame.

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