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The Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Is Over, So Why Is Everyone Panicking?

If you live along the Eastern seaboard of the United States, you’re probably thinking about gas today, and not the kind generated by that weird burrito you ate for lunch. We’re talking gasoline, and the panic gripping drivers in the aftermath of the Colonial gas pipeline, which runs from Texas to New Jersey, being hacked and subsequently going offline over the weekend. Thing is, just because the key pipeline was shut down following a cyberattack, there isn’t any reason to panic if you live in any of the states the pipeline services. As of Wednesday, May 12, Colonial Pipeline says it has begun restoring service, a process that will take a few days to fully complete.

Well, there wasn’t any reason to panic before people started panicking—a collective paranoia that’s led to runs on gasoline in a number of states in the Southeast. That’s because the 5,500-mile pipeline is just one delivery method for gasoline for those areas, and guess what? Those states also have roads and many have ports, both of which support the delivery of gasoline by other means (ship, tanker truck, and so on); the pipeline only handles about 45 percent of fuel deliveries for the East Coast, per NPR. Even if the pipeline were to stay offline for an extended period of time, state governments (and likely the federal government) would step in and marshal resources so that pumps keep flowing. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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