They told us not to panic buy. We panic bought.

Long lines circle gas stations throughout the state as an East Coast fuel shortage triggered by a Russian cyberattack has drivers stocking up. As of Wednesday afternoon, a staggering 65 percent of gas stations in North Carolina are out of fuel, GasBuddy reports. In Raleigh, more than 72 percent of stations have run dry.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency Tuesday in preparation for fuel shortages and to curtail price gouging. Prices topped $3 a gallon this week for the first time since 2014. 

Residents were urged not to storm the pumps, with experts noting surge buying could only worsen the crisis, as reported by The News & Observer, among other outlets. It was no use. Pandemonium ensued. Cars played chicken in parking lots to secure a precious sip of gasoline. Scrimmages broke out, including this one at a Raleigh gas station.

The crisis is due to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Coast pipeline, following a ransomware attack that occurred last week. The pipeline is the largest fuel distribution system in the country, responsible for supplying nearly half of the nation’s gas. 

Luckily, the shortage is expected to be short-lived and Cooper said he expects the system to be back online shortly. 

“I have talked today with federal officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and we have a full court press to get the Colonial Pipeline back up and fully operating quickly,” Cooper said in a recent press statement. “Report price gouging and please don’t rush to top off your tanks.”

Click here to see what stations near you have run dry. 

North Carolina update:
78% of Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville/Anderson stns no gasoline
72% of Raleigh/Durham stns no gasoline
71% of Charlotte stns no gasoline
69% of Greenville/New Bern/Washington stns no gasoline
65% of Norfolk/Portsmouth/Newport stns no gasoline

— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 12, 2021

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