Colonial Pipeline studies ‘substantial progress’ in restoring the circulate of gasoline.

Gasoline prices continued to rise in the southeast on Thursday, but generally at a slower pace than in recent days, as the Colonial Pipeline operator said it had made “significant strides” in resuming fuel supplies along the east coast.

“Product delivery to all markets that we serve has begun,” said the pipeline operator on Thursday afternoon. “It will take several days for the product supply chain to normalize again. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may or may not experience intermittent business interruptions. “

The pipeline, which stretches from Texas to New Jersey and provides nearly half of the transportation fuels for the Atlantic coast, was shut down on Friday due to a ransomware cyberattack. Operations have gained momentum since the pipeline was partially restarted late Wednesday.

Gasoline prices in South Carolina and Georgia rose around 3 cents Wednesday through Thursday, about half what it had in the past few days. But prices in Tennessee, which depend on an offshoot of the pipeline, rose 6 cents to $ 2.87 for a gallon of regulars. Nationwide, the average price for a gallon of regular guests rose by 2 cents to $ 3.03, according to the AAA car club.

Gasoline supplies vary from state to state along the pipeline, partly because some locations have more storage than others. New Jersey was only 1 percent missing from gas stations early Thursday morning, while more than half of gas stations in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina ran out of fuel, according to GasBuddy, a fuel monitoring app.

It will likely take at least the whole weekend for supplies to return to normal at all gas stations as it will take some time for fuel to pass through the pipeline.

President Biden spoke on national television urging motorists not to panic.

“You should achieve full operational capacity while we are speaking while I am speaking to you,” said Mr Biden at the White House. “That’s good news. But let’s be clear, we won’t feel the effects on the pump immediately. It’s not like pressing a light switch.”

An internal evaluation by the Department of Energy and Homeland Security found that the fuel “flows through the pipeline at 5 miles per hour” and “takes about two weeks to get from the Gulf Coast to New York”. Additional deliveries in tank trucks and tankers connecting the Gulf and Atlantic coasts can also take up to a week or more.

The Biden administration has temporarily relaxed the Jones Act, which bans foreign ships from delivering goods from one domestic port to another. The administration said Thursday that a company had been granted a waiver and that other waiver requests were being considered.

“This waiver will allow additional gas and jet fuel to be transported to alleviate supply bottlenecks,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. The Jones Act, which is more than a century old and aims to protect American shipping, is usually waived to compensate for supply disruptions during hurricanes.

Panic buying contributed to the fuel shortage. At some stations, people filled gas cans, forced others to wait longer, and made screaming matches.

Friday is traditionally the biggest day for gasoline sales. However, the energy analysts were optimistic that the crisis would soon be over.

“The pipeline restart is very positive news for drivers,” said Jeanette McGee, director of external communications for AAA. “While the effects are not immediately visible and drivers in the affected areas can expect a few more days of limited fuel supplies, there is some relief.”

She said the station pumps will be full in “several days” before Memorial Day weekend, a heavy drive time.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified an organized crime group called DarkSide as an attacker. The group is believed to operate from Eastern Europe, possibly Russia. While the attack was not directed at the pipeline itself, Colonial shut down both its information systems and the pipeline until it was certain that the flow of fuel could be safely controlled.

David E. Sanger and Michael D. Shear contributed to the coverage.

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