UPDATE: Colonial Pipeline issued a statement Wednesday saying that it had initiated the restart of pipeline operations as of 5 p.m. ET. The company warned that it will take several days for the supply chain to return to normal.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Colonial Pipeline System stretches all the way from Texas to New Jersey and provides gas for much of the southeast. With much of this pipeline temporarily out of service from last week’s cyberattack, drivers in Middle Tennessee will likely see some changes at the pump.
Colonial Pipeline halted operations over the weekend as a precaution and expects to be back online within the end of this week. According to AAA spokesperson Megan Cooper, while demand for gas did increase across Tennessee overnight, there’s no need to panic about prices.
“Overnight, the Tennessee gas price average moves about two cents more expensive,” Cooper said. “Of course, this is an average across the state. So in some areas of the state, there might have been a more significant increase overnight in some areas, maybe not so much.”
The longer it takes for the pipeline to come back online, the greater the impacts will be, according to Cooper.
“The longer that that pipeline remains offline, the more substantial effects we will see both in regards to gas pricing and local supply for all of the states along that that system on for that pipeline.”
Prices are expected to rise, but only by a few more cents.
“We’re projecting that for states like Tennessee that are supplied partly by the Colonial Pipeline, that we could see it increase of anywhere from three to seven cents, on average across the state,” Cooper said.
Shortages are not anticipated to be a major issue in Middle Tennessee. Still, Cooper does warn against panic buying, which is something that can create shortages.
“So in the meantime, we’re really encouraging people not to give in to panic buying,” Cooper said. “We’ve heard reports this morning that gasoline demand skyrocketed overnight, which means that once people started hearing that news of the pipeline shutting down, they ran out and started filling up their vehicles. We’re really encouraging people not to do that, to not get into that panic buying.”