The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack only made the situation worse, as the industry already faces too few tanker truck drivers.
For the first time in nearly seven years, the average price for a gallon of gas nationally rose past the $3 mark, according to AAA's data tracking. The price surge follows this past weekend's cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which carries about 45% of the east coast's gasoline supply. Drivers quickly flocked to stations to top off, which has left numerous stations without fuel.
According to AAA, the average price as of May 12 for a gallon of gas sits at $3.008, up from $2.985 Tuesday. The association believes prices will continue to climb until the pipeline resumes normal activities, especially in states the cyberattack affected the most. Prices on the east coast specifically may rise by another 3 to 7 cents this week. AAA also underscored that parts of the country the Colonial Pipeline does not supply will see little to no impact in local prices.
The pipeline operators hope to have the line operational again by the end of this week, though it may take just over two weeks for fuel to begin flowing like normal as gas travels from Texas to New York.
Even before the cyberattack, gasoline demand was on the rise as local health orders expire and millions of Americans, freshly vaccinated against the coronavirus, begin to resume normal activities. Butting heads with demand is a shortage of tanker truck drivers, who left the industry en masse as the pandemic unfolded in 2020. Although gasoline supply remains robust in the US, too few drivers to deliver fuel for eager travelers may cause prices to continue to rise.