Rising outages are also being reported at gas stations in Georgia (5.8%), Florida (2.8%) and South Carolina (3.5%), according to GasBuddy, which collects user reports and shares the information with the government during emergencies.
“Panicked buying” is “running stations in the region dry,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.
He warned that the “irrational behavior” could prolong supply issues “for weeks.”
Tiffany Wright of AAA Carolinas criticized what she described as “irresponsible behavior at the pump.”
“People are taking their entire family fleet of vehicles to the gas station and filing up when they don’t need to,” Wright told CNN’s Dianne Gallagher. “We are our own worst enemy in this situation because we are over-consuming at the pump.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm pleaded with Americans not to hoard gas as the pipeline attempts to resume operations.
“Let me emphasize that much as there was no cause for say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline,” Granholm said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, “especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend.”
Demand for information on gasoline availability is so intense that GasBuddy itself experienced outages. De Haan told CNN the platform is experiencing “slowdowns” because of “extreme traffic,” so users may experience “periodic timeouts” on its website and app.
Gas prices flirt with $3 a gallon
“I got scared that I could not go to work or take my daughters to school,” Florida resident Linderly Bedoya told CNN on Tuesday. “All the gas stations in my area were without gas and when I finally found one I had to stay an hour in line and I had to fill up with the premium unleaded.”
GasBuddy lists smaller outages, impacting less than 1% of the gas stations, in Alabama and Tennessee.
Investors are taking the supply shock in stride. RBOB gasoline futures are little changed from Friday.
Emergency steps to ease supply concerns
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency declaration Tuesday afternoon “to prepare and coordinate our response” to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. Northam said that while gasoline reserves in Virginia are “sufficient to address immediate supply concerns, he acknowledged that a prolonged pipeline closure will cause “gasoline supply disruptions to various retailers.”
EPA Administrator Michael Regan cited “extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances” for waiving certain federal requirements for fuels sold in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The waiver will continue through May 18.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey urged residents not to panic and “only fill up if you need to, and do not fill up multiple containers.”
CNN’s Alisha Ebrahimji, Liz Stark and Paul Murphy contributed to this report.