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ArkLaTex experts, customers weigh in on gas pipeline halt

Gas pump (FILE)
Gas pump (FILE)(WVIR)
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Following a cyber attack by Russian cybercriminals, Colonial Pipeline halted operations, causing long lines and gas shortages in parts of the U.S.

Louisiana experts are urging people not to panic as they are hoping to fully resume operations later this week.

“We don’t want people to panic. We don’t want it to turn into toilet paper,” Natalie Isaacks said, referencing the toilet paper shortage that happened due to panic buying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isaacks is executive director of the Louisiana Oil Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

“I’m glad I got [gas] while I can because I don’t think I can get it anywhere else,” driver Pat Reynolds said. “It seems like it keeps getting worse and worse.”

The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about 45% of the fuel supply along the East Coast and in the South, stopped operations Friday. Demand jumped 20% just three days later, on Monday, according to GasBuddy.

“The other [gas station] down there, they said it was the rain, but they also said there’s just no gas,” Reynolds said.

A representative of the Texas Food and Fuel Association said neither Texas nor Louisiana has seen significant impacts.

“I think in Louisiana, we’re better off than some of our neighbors in Tennessee and even Mississippi,” Isaacks said.

“I’ve seen [the gas stations] get crowded,” driver Shemara Thomas said. “I’m not trying to freak out about it. I’m trying to just get what I need and not take all the gas from everybody else.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Colonial Pipeline’s website was down. Portions of the pipeline are online by manual control.

“Even when it gets back up again, it’s still going to be delayed,” Isaacks said.

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