Panic Buying Amid Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack ‘Insane,’ Gasoline Distributor Says

May 13, 2021 Updated: May 14, 2021

In the wake of a ransomware attack that temporarily halted all of the Colonial Pipeline networks, it is important to understand how the subsequent gas shortage affects the average citizen.

“It’s really crazy,” president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc. Maximo Alvarez told The Epoch Times Wednesday. “I have given at least ten interviews and in every interview, I always tell them at the beginning and at the end: ‘Please tell the people of South Florida, do not panic. We have plenty of gas.’ Still, not one station, not one reporter has mentioned to the people of Florida ‘Do not to panic. We have plenty of gas.’”

“We have people in Hialeah and Kendal, Florida buying gasoline in cans as if it were an emergency or a hurricane. It’s truly insane. The problem that we have is we don’t have enough trucks. Right now, the lines at Port Everglades are somewhere between two and a half to three hours, simply because people are panicking and we are running out of gas at just about every station. We have plenty of product. I keep trying to explain to everyone the fact that the pipeline is not working, all the product that goes into the pipeline has gone to water-borne terminals like Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. People don’t understand we have an enormous supply of gasoline in those locations where the product that won’t go into the pipeline, we are getting it. I’ve explained to people, this is a temporary time that has nothing to do with supply.”

“I have spoken to experts who tell me that by Friday, this problem will be solved,” Alvarez assured The Epoch Times. “But no, it’s all about panicking. Prices are going to go through the roof, you’re not going to have gasoline. It’s crazy. It’s absolutely just misinformation.”

Floridian: We’re Not ‘Supported by the Pipeline in Question’

“It’s just interesting to see lines at gas pumps and even gas stations completely out of fuel in a state that isn’t supported by the pipeline in question,” Thomas Rummel shared with The Epoch Times.” Rummel lives in Florida and drives a 115-mile round-trip commute between his home in Spring Hill and his office in downtown Tampa.

“About 15 percent of the gas stations I passed this morning are completely out of fuel,” Rummel explained. “Last night, on the way home, cars were wrapped around the block of every station that I passed. Once again, why? The Colonial Pipeline doesn’t support Florida! The herd mentality has created a shortage of a product that is in abundant supply in the state. It appears that the toilet paper lemmings have now shifted their focus to fuel.”

Rummel’s daughter, Brenna, lives in North Carolina. She told The Epoch Times the shortage is having a big impact on people living in her area.

“A lot of people are having issues, and a lot of people have called out,” Rummel shared, reticent to identify her location of employment. “They can’t get gas anywhere. People are waiting in line for hours.”

Rummel works in Holly Springs, North Carolina, and lives in Benson, North Carolina, approximately 26 miles away. “So I’m driving about 60 miles per day. But that’s when I’m at home. Sometimes I’m at my boyfriend’s house, and that’s in Dun, North Carolina and that’s a 45-minute drive from Holly Springs, about 42 miles. So that’s 80 miles per day.”

“The thing is, when I’m looking for gas, I have to pay attention to how much I have so I can have enough [for] the next day so I can make it to work the next morning. I got lucky this morning when I found gas at a Sheetz by my job in Holly Springs. But by noon they were completely sold out. I had to go get gas at 4 o’clock in the morning because by 6 a.m. they were packed out the door with a line.”

“Sheetz,” Rummel explained, “is like the Wawa of North Carolina.”

“Basically, yesterday, I had just enough gas to get to work to and from worm work,” Rummel told The Epoch Times, “and I didn’t know if I was going to get anything because all gas stations had either ‘zero gas,’ or about five gas stations who had ‘maybe’ something. People are calling out of work because they can’t get gas. And people are calling to have tried to set up Uber rides to get them to work. But, eventually, Uber is going to run out of gas, and that’s going to be a problem.

“In most places,” Rummel shared, “the pumps are completely shut down. Otherwise, you’re waiting two to three hours to find out you can’t get gas.”

North Carolinian: ‘I Think People Are Overreacting’

Rick Meyer of New Burn, North Carolina believes people are overreacting.

“It started Monday and it’s kind of in pockets,” Meyer said Wednesday. “I don’t know that it’s that much of a shortage because of the gasoline supply as it is people trying to hoard it. You see people pull in with gas cans and filling those up as well.”

According to GasBuddy Tracker, all but two gas stations in New Burn, North Carolina are reporting “limited fuel options.” The other two stations are reporting “no fuel and power.”

“I just came home from the gym and I passed two gas stations,” Meyer added. “One had gas and quite a bit of a line. It was a Circle K. And the other one didn’t have any gas at all.”

Asked how people in his area are dealing with the shortage, Meyer said he hasn’t seen any indications of tensions or problems at the gas stations.

“People are being polite,” he said. “I think people are overreacting, to be honest.”

“In a couple of weeks we’ll be in full-fledged tourist season,” Scheryl D. Gray of Nags Head, North Carolina told The Epoch Times. “We were just out, and we didn’t see too many lines. But that’s because they’re running out of gas.”

“We went out yesterday afternoon and got ours,” Gray said. “Something clicked and I said, you know, I better gas up just in case. People were all over Facebook saying: ‘Don’t panic. You’re making it worse.’ It’s like hurricane season here. When you get a real forewarning you prepare yourself. You don’t get left high and dry. We’ve got a tank a piece, so we’re just sitting low. We’re not going to travel to any extra places we don’t need to go to. We’re just going to sit tight and go to work. Then go back home. We’re going to pace ourselves. I’m so close to everything I could walk. We just pray to God there’s no food delivery interruption.”

“A girlfriend of mine said she was filling up yesterday afternoon and the tank actually stopped. It ran out of gas. She had to go to another gas station to complete her fill-up.”

“Something I found very interesting,” Gray added, “I went out yesterday and multiple gas stations about ten miles from me, about five of them, had the same exact price, $2.79. That I thought was odd because they’re usually a couple of cents off here and there. But they all had the same price. Now it’s $2.85.”

Gray said when you live in an area that gets hit by hurricanes every year, you get used to emergency shortages.

“We get ourselves prepared. We get our non-perishable foods. We know what to do. In the worst-case scenario, if the trucks don’t get to us with food, we need to get the non-perishables.”

But, having lived in an area prone to hurricanes all her life, Gray said she was “already in that mode.”

Virginian: ‘People Are Camping Out at the Pumps’

“All I know is that all of the stations in Charlottesville started running out yesterday,” Tony Elliott of Crozet, Virginia told The Epoch Times. “Then around 2 p.m. yesterday, I noticed a line of cars lined up in front of my house and thought someone had wrecked. When I went outside to check, I realized they were in line to get gas at a country store about 1/4 of a mile from my house!”

According to GasBuddy, gas stations in Crozet, Virginia are experiencing significant shortages. “It stayed that way until 8:30 last night when they got every drop that the store had,” Elliott said further. “I live in the country, about 12 miles west of Charlottesville, so all of those cars from the city were trying to hit up all of the country stores. The other little store in my neighborhood had the same thing happen and they only sell ethanol-free gas that people buy for things like lawnmowers, chainsaws, and older cars that run better on ethanol-free gas. Today neither store has gas.”

“Both stores sold out yesterday,” Elliott added, “and I don’t know when they are getting a new shipment. Their price was $2.19 Sunday and now it’s $3.19.”

“I’ve got a full tank that I bought at the end of last week and I don’t have to go anywhere for the next day or two,” Elliott said. “So, I have enough gas unless this mess goes on for a week or more.”

“People are fighting in town,” Sean Hughes of Charlottesville, Virginia, shared with The Epoch Times on Wednesday. Hughes is a contractor who spends a lot of time on the road.

“People are showing up with 50-gallon tanks,” Hughes said. “They’re filling up milk jugs, and none of that’s legal. But everybody’s running out, so everybody’s doing it. Tiger Fuel said they’re not running out of diesel yet. But I run on gasoline.”

A notice, posted on the homepage for Tiger Fuel advises “the Colonial Pipeline is the main artery in which we secure all our fuel products.”

“Due to the shutdown, all the reserves at the terminals are drained and supplies are limited,” the notice explains. “Along with many retail outlets across the southeast, many of our Market gas stations are already out of fuel. Supply will be seriously disrupted for the next several weeks. We encourage our customers to avoid unnecessary travel as we wait for The Colonial Pipeline to restore operational service.”

“We apologize for the disruption and promise to have fuel for our customers as soon as it becomes available. We are committed to serving our community and will update our customers as this situation progresses.”

“All the other contractors, they don’t know what they’re going to do because you have multiple trucks that are diesel, and you can’t get diesel fuel,” Hughes added. “So, people are camping out at the pumps. Most of the service stations have run out.”