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Gas prices on rise as summer approaches, cyberattack adding to issue

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The price of gas typically begins to go up as we get closer to Memorial Day Weekend, just three weeks away. This year, we’re seeing the price rise early.

According to AAA (Triple-A), the national average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $2.96. That’s six cents higher than a week ago. In Kansas, the average price is $2.77, up about five cents from last week. Here in Wichita, a gallon of regular, unleaded gas will cost on average about $2.89, up nearly 13 cents.

Over the weekend, cyberattack shut down more than 5,000 miles of pipeline for a major supplier of fuel for the northeast. causing higher prices. The Colonial Pipeline carries about 45 percent of fuel consumed on the east coast. The pipeline transports more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and home heating oil every day. On Sunday, the company said some smaller lateral lines are now restored, but its mainlines are not.

“While average gas prices jumped last week as the nation continues to see COVID-19 recovery, all eyes are now on the Colonial Pipeline and the fact a cyberattack has completely shut all lines, leading to what could become a major challenge for fuel delivery,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “The situation is growing more intense each day that passes without the pipeline restarting, and motorists are advised to show extreme restraint or exacerbate and prolong the challenges. If the pipeline returns to service in the next day or two, the challenges will be minimal, but if full restart doesn’t happen by then, we’re likely to see a slight rise in gas prices, but more importantly, challenges for motorists needing fuel in Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, Northern Florida and surrounding areas. I’m hopeful the situation will quickly improve as multiple levels of government are involved, this may become a nightmare should it continue just ahead of the start of the summer driving season. GasBuddy will continue to watch the situation and update as necessary.”

You can keep track of gas prices and find the lowest costs near you here: GasBuddy.com.

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