Gas prices are expected to rise following a ransomware attack targeting Colonial Pipeline Company last week that forced the company to shut down a major fuel pipeline.
Reuters and The Associated Press noted that gas prices were already up nationwide by an average of six cents per gallon over the past two weeks. Industry experts are expecting further increases, particularly in the U.S. southeast.
“If the interruption persists, we will see more regional impacts than nation-wide, in terms of supply and prices. The south/southeast (Maryland to Mississippi to Georgia), will likely see gas prices increase first,” the American Automobile Association (AAA) told Reuters.
“The shorter the pipeline shutdown, the better news for motorists,” AAA continued.
Other experts told the news service that the pipeline shutdown could affect airports in the southeast should it last for more than a few days.
Colonial Pipeline Company said in a statement last week that it was “taking steps to understand and resolve this issue.”
“At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline,” the company added.
The attack has been blamed on a criminal ransomware gang called “Dark Side.”
Reuters noted that while Colonial restarted some smaller lines on Sunday, it has released no estimates for the restart of its main pipelines.