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More than half of SC gas stations run dry as pipeline resumes operations

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:39 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - After a weeklong shutdown of a gasoline pipeline, more than half of South Carolina’s gas stations were running on empty Wednesday night.

GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan reported that 53% of gas stations across South Carolina had run out of gas as drivers rushed to fill their tanks.

They did so despite pleas from leaders, including Gov. Henry McMaster, and assurances from Colonial Pipeline officials, who said they expected to have the pipeline fully operational again by week’s end.

Colonial initiated the restart of pipeline operations late Wednesday, saying in a statement that “all lines, including those lateral lines that have been running manually, will return to normal operations.”

But, they said, it would still take several days for deliveries to return to normal.

North Carolina fared even worse, with 74% of their gas stations reported empty.

An even 50% of Georgia stations and 56% of Virginia stations had run dry, DeHaan said.

DeHaan said outage numbers may drift higher over the next 48 hours before they begin to fall.

The pipeline, which supplies 45% of gasoline to the southeast coast, was shut down last week after hackers gained access to their system with ransomware.

Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Tuesday he had declared an “abnormal disruption” in the fuel market following the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline.

In such a circumstance, anyone found to be renting or selling a commodity at “an unconscionable price” could be charged with price gouging. The crime carries a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.