UPDATE: Gas shortage grips Atlanta as Colonial Pipeline slowly restarts operations after cyberattack

Photo by Joshua Crowder

Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline, which supplies gasoline to nearly half of the East Coast, has restarted operations after a cyberattack crippled the company, but officials warned it could be “several days” before gas stations were restocked.

Colonial Pipeline said in a statement: “Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal.”

As of late Wednesday, 67% in metro Atlanta gas stations were out of fuel, according to GasBuddy, which launched as launched a tracker at tracker.gasbuddy.com to show which stations still have fuel.

Local, state, and U.S. officials have implored motorists not to panic buy or hoard gasoline,  but many people were not heeding that advice as fuel prices topped $3 a gallon at many stations for the first time in years.

The May 7 attack by hackers who sought a ransom for hijacked data affected the Colonial Pipeline, whose network runs between Texas and New York, including pipelines running across the metro Atlanta area.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order May 11 to temporarily suspend the gas tax in Georgia and announced that the state is increasing the weight limits for trucks transporting fuel, providing more supply for stations as they receive deliveries. The order also prohibits price gouging at the pumps.

John Ruch contributed to this report.