The Biden administration has invoked emergency powers as part of an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to avoid fuel shortages after the worst-ever cyber-attack on US infrastructure shut down a crucial pipeline supplying the east coast.
The federal transport department issued an emergency declaration on Sunday to relax regulations for drivers carrying gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products in 17 states and the District of Columbia. It lets them work extra or more flexible hours to make up for any fuel shortage related to the pipeline outage.
Experts said on Sunday that gasoline prices were unlikely to be affected if the pipeline was back to normal in the next few days but that the incident should serve as a wake-up call to companies about the vulnerabilities they face.
The pipeline, operated by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, carries gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the north-east. It delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the east coast, according to the company.