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Officials warn against 'panic buying' after Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack

Posted at 7:40 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 11:12:42-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Gas stations across the country are running out of gas after a ransomware attack on a crucial pipeline, and the attack has prompted "panic buying" at thousands of gas stations in the southeast.

Officials with the White House say even with the supply crunch on the East Coast, there is not a fuel shortage. Buying mass quantities of fuel in fear could worsen the problem, according to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Ganholm.

RELATED: Increase demand causing some Las Vegas Chevron gas stations to be out of fuel

The panic buying was sparked after a ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies nearly half of all fuel used on the East Coast, on Friday.

While demand is up, Ganholm is emphasizing that supply is not an issue.

“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,” she said.

Gas prices are rising around the U.S. and in Las Vegas. According to GasBuddy.com, fuel prices are up 4.7 cents in the past week and nearly 17 cents higher than last month.

RELATED: Gas prices up 6 cents in Southern Nevada over last 2 weeks

Officials say the pipeline should take a few days to be up and running again, but in the meantime, the White House says the U.S. has a large supply of gasoline in the reserve.