In the wake of the Russian hacking of the Colonial Pipeline, Tampa Bay residents are aggressively filling up their tanks, creating some shortages and long lines across the region.
“Obviously, it affects our state,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday.
DeSantis urged people not to hoard gas and to avoid going into “panic buying” mode, leaving several gas stations without fuel.
“You do see shortages but that’s compounded with some panic buying, and I think what we would just say is, look – if you need gas, get it. But you don’t need to be hoarding it right now. That’s going to make it worse,” he said.
The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office even took to Facebook, urging people to not go out and start “panic buying” gas.
“The gas pipeline that was hacked does not supply gasoline to this part of Florida,” the post said.
According to AAA, 90% of Florida’s gas supply comes in on cargo ships at various ports.
“This is not a refinery issue. Gasoline is still being made and fuel continues sailing through Florida ports, regardless of whether Colonial Pipeline is operational,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.
“It’s likely that motorists are seeing reports about supply issues in other states – due to the pipeline – and are racing out to top off their tanks,” Jenkins said. “The problem is, that surge in demand is what actually creates the supply issue, since gas stations can only hold so much fuel at a given time.”
“Stations can’t keep up with motorists who suddenly decide that they need to buy 50 gallons of fuel,” Patrick De Haan with GasBuddy said.
The Colonial Pipeline is back up and running as of Wednesday night. It will take some days for gas stations across the south and east to get restocked.
That includes local gas stations that ran out because of panic buying.