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HOUSTON – The Colonial Pipeline, which provides nearly half of the transportation fuel to the Southeast and New York, resumed full operation on Saturday, eight days after being shut down by a ransomware attack.
It will be days before gas stations in Washington, DC and the Southeast are back to normal as nearly 2,000 outlets are running out of fuel and it is taking some time to replenish.
However, the prices at the pump have stabilized. According to the AAA Motor Club, average regular gasoline prices in Tennessee and South Carolina, two of the hardest-hit states, rose just a penny on Saturday. Nationwide, gasoline prices remained stable at $ 3.04, eight cents higher than a week ago. Prices in the states hardest hit by the shutdown rose as much as 20 cents a gallon last week.
“We have put the system back into normal operation and are delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve,” said the pipeline operator said on twitter.
The gas station, one of the largest in the country, transports refined gasoline and jet fuel over 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas along the east coast to New York. It was closed on Friday a week ago. Last Tuesday, the shutdown sparked a wave of panic buying. Long lines popped up at gas stations as drivers filled not only their vehicles but also cans and plastic bags.
Federal authorities have linked the ransomware attack to a criminal hacking group called DarkSide in Eastern Europe and possibly Russia. The attack targeted the information systems of the Colonial Pipeline, locking up computer systems and holding data hostage. Colonial quietly paid the blackmailers nearly $ 5 million in Bitcoin to restore the stolen data.
On Friday, DarkSide announced that the company had been closed due to unspecified “pressure” from the US.