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Experts warn against panic buying gas

The national average for a gallon of gas dips below $2 for the first time since 2016, AAA says
Posted at 6:48 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 18:48:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Even though analysts say that they expect the gas shortage to only last a few days, many drivers in Central Virginia are rushing to fill up their cars.

As of Tuesday evening, the Village Exxon gas station in Paterson had run out of everything except for diesel fuel. The gas station said they were expecting a gas shipment at 5 p.m. but that the shipment had been delayed by five hours.

"I mean, it's a little scary that somebody can tap into our system and kind of cause this ripple effect," Kerri Ward, a customer, said.

Mike Zacharias, a local contractor, was forced to buy a different grade of gas for his work truck as the gas he normally uses is out of stock.

"We know to fill up the cars and the increase in gas costs. We're a small company with just a few trucks on the road. But, you know, we feel the pinch every time that gas price goes up," Zacharias said.

Virginia reportedly has an estimated 7% of gas stations that were out of fuel as of Monday, resulting in long lines at gas stations across Richmond.

"It's just a disruption," Dr. Jeff Smith said.

Despite the panic in some, Dr. Jeff Smith, chair of VCU's Supply Chain Management analytics Department says there is no need for consumers to panic.

"The bigger point and this is the scarier point is it provides a real-life example of the vulnerability of many aspects of our supply chains. And you see that, you know, in this case, you don't think about it from a physical material flow, that a cyber hack or a cyber attack can be the reason why it shuts down. But that's the vulnerability now," Smith said.

Smith said that he believes other companies will use this situation as an example and he expects that they will re-examine their security protocols.

"But I think you're going to see a lot of other infrastructure-based, supply-based, and I'm talking energy supply or base material supply that's essential to our, our existence more or less, you're going to see a lot more checks," Smith said.

The company that runs Colonial Pipeline says that it is working towards substantially restoring operations by this week.