WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Colonial Pipeline has restored the flow of fuel following a ransomware cyberattack, though President Joe Biden said it could still be several days before drivers notice supply normalizes at gas stations.
“This is not like flipping on a light switch. This is 5,500 miles long,” President Biden said in an update Thursday.
Drivers are still dashing to gas stations to fill up their tanks, leading to shortages across the state.
According to crowdsourced data from Gas Buddy, 30% of gas stations in Florida are without gas, 38% of stations in the West Palm Beach area, and 39% of gas stations in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area.
At the Mobil gas station in Ocean Breeze, employee Hedy Bastedo has had a front-row seat to watch drivers make panic purchases.
“They’re filling up tubs and big containers. They use plastic bags. They use anything to get gas,” Bastedo said.
It prompted the gas station to stop allowing people to fill up cans. Thursday morning, they were out of premium and mid-grade fuel.
“People got to realize don’t panic, it’s just gas,” Bastedo said. “They used everything we’ve got. We’re down to the nitty-gritty now.”
Driver Gail Wood stopped at three different stations Thursday looking for premium fuel.
“I was going to head to Fort Pierce, but I don’t think I’ll make it,” Wood said. “This is crazy.”
For people who rely on fuel for work, the restrictions are an added stress.
The owner of Morning Magnolia Coffee posted on Facebook that she had to close for the day. She couldn’t find ethanol-free gas which she needs for her business that runs off a generator. She was able to find gas later in the morning at a Wawa.
James, who didn’t want to give his last name, has been an Uber driver for 4 years. “I better get a full tank for work,” he said, anticipating the challenges to find fuel to continue.
He’s also hopeful prices will not be impacted.
“We have to continue to fill up no matter what the price is,” James said.
President Biden warned gas station owners not to raise their prices.