Colonial Pipeline cyberattack may cause SoCal gas prices to rise higher than they already are

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Monday, May 10, 2021
Pipeline cyberattack may mean higher SoCal gas prices
SoCal gas prices are already high - a regular gallon of gas currently costs $4.15 on average in L.A. The weekend pipeline cyberattack may cause gas prices to climb even higher across the Southland.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just when you thought SoCal gas prices couldn't get any more expensive -- there are now concerns they could rise even higher as a major pipeline on the East Coast remains shut down due to a cyberattack.

Gas prices across the Southland have already been rising since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been easing and more people are out on the roads.

In L.A., a regular gallon of gas will cost you around $4.15 on average. Just a year ago, it was $2.85.

But a cyberattack involving a major East Coast pipeline could make prices go up even higher than they already are.

The Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45% of all the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was the target of a ransomware attack on Saturday.

MORE | Gas at DTLA station nears $6 per gallon

The price of regular gas is nearly $6 per gallon at this downtown L.A. station as prices across the Southland continue to inch their way up.

The pipeline hopes to resume some operations by the end of the week after that major cyberattack. It's a 5,500-mile network that carries gas, diesel and jet fuel from Texas to New Jersey.

The cyberextortion attempt that has forced the shutdown was carried out by a criminal gang known as DarkSide that cultivates a Robin Hood image of stealing from corporations and giving a cut to charity, a person close to the investigation said Sunday.

So what does all of this mean for Southern California drivers? It means potentially higher prices at the pump - especially if the shutdown lasts more than just a few days.

However, the effects will be more dramatic for East Coasters.

MORE | Cyberattack on US pipeline is linked to criminal gang

The operator of a major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast said Saturday that it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and that it had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat.

"It will be more regional, so really impacting drivers in the South East, mostly, and on the East Coast. But of course whenever there is a major shutdown of a system somewhere in the country, we could feel some of the impact here in California," said Doug Shupe with Auto Club of Southern California.

Gas prices have already been rising steadily in SoCal as gas stations had to switch to the summer blend, which is required in California, back on April 1. That tacked an extra 15-20 cents onto every gallon of gas. In addition, demand has driven prices up as well.

Currently, SoCal drivers are paying about $1.31 per gallon more than they were one year ago. For the average car, that adds up to roughly $18 more per fill-up.

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