You can always count on the American people to face any sudden bump in the road with serenity and grace. Like these two, who got into a fist fight on Tuesday after a woman hit another driver’s car and spit on him while trying to muscle in line for gas.
Updated Wednesday May 12, 2021 9 p.m. EDT: Pipeline service resumed Wednesday at 5 p.m. according to Colonial Pipeline’s website. Some cities might continue to experience intermittent service for a few days while everything gets back up and running.
Can we go even one day without acting foolish? Signs say no. Interrupt Americans’ ability to consume even slightly and we lose it. Local news station WRAL was able to speak to the person who filmed the fight at a Marathon gas station in Knightdale, North Carolina, which was posted to Instagram.
One man caught an intense altercation on camera at a Marathon gas station in Knightdale.
The man, who wanted to be identified only as Rashaad, said he was in line for gas when he saw a fight break out between a man and woman at one of the pumps.
He said he was waiting to get gas at the Marathon station around 2 p.m. when a woman in a white sedan tried to cut the long line.
When no one would let her in, Rashaad said she ran into a gray Honda at one of the pumps.
While the original Instagram post says both parties were arrested, WRAL reports that the Durham Police Department had no reports of fights at gas pumps.
Patrick De Haan, who blogs about gas and fuel at the app GasBuddy’s website, has been keeping his Twitter followers up-to-date about the fuel shortages in urban areas of the American South and East Coast. His latest tweet as of this writing puts North Carolina as the hardest hit area, with nearly 30 percent of stations without gas:
Of course, a lot of these outages are being caused by resource hoarding, mostly in urban areas. Here’s North Carolina specifically:
Still, 19 states and the District of Columbia are all covered under a regional emergency declaration by the Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the DOT). U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned that there was not a supply shortage, but fuel was not getting to where it needs to go. From ABC:
“Much as there was no cause for, say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic,” Granholm told reporters, “there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline, especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend.”
“It’s not that we have a gasoline shortage,” Granholm said in an exchange with ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce. “It’s that we have this supply crunch, and that things will be back to normal soon, and that we’re asking people not to hoard.”
She added: “We have gasoline. We just have to get it to the right places.”
It seems there aren’t enough trucks (or truck drivers) to ship the fuel from the refineries to gas stations, as states usually do when a hurricane or other natural disaster knocks pipelines offline.
This entire fiasco is due to a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacking group DarkSide on Friday, KrebsOnSecurity reports. The attack shut down over 5,000 miles of pipeline leaving millions of gallons of everything from gas to jet fuel sitting in refineries on the Gulf Coast:
New York City-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint said its analysts assess with a moderate-strong degree of confidence that the attack was not intended to damage national infrastructure and was simply associated with a target which had the finances to support a large payment.
“This would be consistent with DarkSide’s earlier activities, which included several ‘big game hunting’ attacks, whereby attackers target an organization that likely possesses the financial means to pay the ransom demanded by the attackers,” Flashpoint observed.
In response to public attention to the Colonial Pipeline attack, the DarkSide group sought to play down fears about widespread infrastructure attacks going forward.
“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives [sic],” reads an update to the DarkSide Leaks blog. “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”
Operators say the pipeline should be back up and running by the end of week, with a decision on reopening the pipeline coming by end-of-day Wednesday.