Will gas prices go up even more after pipeline cyber attack?

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest oil lines in America, has been shut down since Friday because of a cyber attack. The pipeline carries millions of gallons of gasoline to the Northeast everyday. It now has people asking questions about the rising gas costs.

Gas prices in the north country have gone up in the past week or so. Will the latest with the pipeline cause prices to increase even more?

The short answer is probably not. We spoke with a couple of experts who say the latest increase in gas prices is actually a coincidence.

“I think upstate New York should not really see any supply challenges at all. You have plenty of refineries in the East Coast,” said Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy.

The Colonial Pipeline begins in Houston, Texas and ends in Linden, New Jersey. It carries about 40 million gallons of gasoline to the East Coast every day, making it one of the main arteries for gasoline distribution on the East Coast. But, De Haan says the north country shouldn’t see prices skyrocket.

“This pipeline is a delivery mechanism, not a production mechanism,” he said.

According to Michael Rygel, geology professor at SUNY Potsdam, supply is not an issue.

“There’s in excessive of a million gallons of gasoline just refined and ready to go to protect against these short term disturbances,” said Rygel.

De Haan adds that upstate New York doesn’t rely too heavily on the Colonial Pipeline to begin with.

So what’s with the rising gas prices? In some parts of Jefferson County, you might find gasoline for more than $3 a gallon. Other gas stations tell us prices have gone up 10 cents in the last week.

“Oh, I’ve noticed every day. We go by the gas stations every day and to me it’s ridiculous,” said Frank Coburn.

“It’s not too frustrating because I don’t drive all that much. I’ve seen this happen many times, I’m not that young,” said Will Rusho.

Rygel says the latest spike in prices is normal for this time of year because more people travel in the warmer weather, creating an increase in demand.

“And then, you compound that by the fact that we’re also reopening,” he said.

As for the Colonial Pipeline, De Haan says southern states like Georgia and the Carolinas are more likely to see a spike in gas prices.

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