WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline is causing some gas shortages in Palm Beach County.
At a Marathon gas station on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach, they only had premium available Wednesday. This left drivers to pay more or hunt around town for gas.
All of this is despite AAA and other industry experts saying that South Florida and the Treasure Coast are not largely dependent on the Colonial Pipeline for gasoline.
"We’re seeing panic behavior, and we're seeing it spread from the areas that are supplied by Colonial Pipeline to some areas that are not," said Tom Kloza of Oil Price Information Service. "All of the product that comes into South Florida, essentially Tampa, Cape Canaveral and Port Everglades, comes by tanker or barge."
That's not stopping anxious drivers from gassing up.
"They're running out in north Florida, so now it looks like it's contagious. I'll try another place to see if they have regular," said driver Bob Nelson.
It was the same situation in Delray Beach with stations running out, and drivers feeling lucky to find a place that still had fuel.
Allan Dix said he finally found gas at a station located at Congress and Atlantic avenues in Delray Beach.
"I went to five other stations. Two didn't have any gas, and two had a line over a block long," Dix said.
"I passed by gas stations in Miami. It looks like a hurricane, so I’m trying to do it up here while I'm at work," said Laura Romaguera in Delray Beach.
This is quite a difference from a year ago at the height of the pandemic when many people were working from home.
AAA reported in May 2020 that gas was in large supply and a dollar a gallon less than what it is now.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday during a news conference in Tarpon Springs that the state has seen some gas shortages, but panic buying is playing a role in the problem.
"Look, if you need gas, get it, but you don’t need to be hoarding it right now," DeSantis said. "That's going to make it worse. People are working to be able to make sure that all these stations have the fuel that we need."
The governor issued a state of emergency Tuesday evening, saying "immediate measures" had to be taken to protect and facilitate the continued delivery of fuel to Florida.
"We have cleared the way for more fuel to be delivered, and we're standing by to do whatever we can," DeSantis said.
The governor said the federal government needs to help with the problem.
"We do really need the federal government to step up. Initially, they were acting like it was just a private matter," the governor said. "No, this is a critical infrastructure for our country that was attacked."
Attorney General Ashley Moody activated the state's price gouging hotline in response to the governor's state of emergency.
I’m expanding Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the declared state of emergency related to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) May 11, 2021
To avoid price gouging and prevent a fuel shortage, do not hoard and only purchase gas when you need it. pic.twitter.com/nPGg2fOLfB