RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WRIC) — The American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting that Virginia drivers will likely see limited gas availability due to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown over the weekend.
Colonial Pipeline is a major pipeline system that transports fuel across 45% of the east coast. On Saturday, the company was the victim of a ransomware attack. In order to deal with the threat, the company halted all pipeline operations. Experts said the attack is likely to affect gasoline supply and prices.
At this time, AAA said that some lines have reopened, but there is no word of when the mainline, including the gasoline line, will be fully operational.
Morgan Dean, a spokesperson for AAA, said in a release that the impact will vary regionally. States, including Virginia, could see an increase of three to 7 cents this week.
“Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week,” Dean said.
According to AAA, Virginia’s average gas price of $2.76 jumped 3 cents on the week and 5 cents over the last month.
AAA is urging people against panic-buying gasoline. In order to conserve fuel they are asking drivers to do the following:
- Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible avoid high-traffic times of day.
- If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.
- Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
- In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.