Colonial Pipeline restarted, gas prices to peak amid panic hoarding: Energy analyst

Phil Flynn says people 'panicking' amid Colonial Pipeline shutdown created gas shortages

Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group, told "Mornings with Maria" on Thursday that he believes gas prices are "close to getting to a short-term peak because everybody's bought gasoline and put it in their garage" following the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. 

He noted that people were "panicking" and flocked to gas stations to fill up, which created gas shortages.

GAS SHORTAGES CONTINUE AS COLONIAL PIPELINE RESTARTS: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

The Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S., delivering about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack, which resulted in its shutdown for days. 

On its fifth day of being shut down, more than 1,000 gas stations reported running out of fuel, prompting government officials to waive environmental rules to expedite the delivery of fuel while assuring the public there was no cause for alarm. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 49.36 +1.00 +2.07%

Gas prices have been increasing in the days since the shutdown reaching a national average of $3.03 a gallon as of Thursday, 9 cents higher than the prior week, according to AAA

The Colonial Pipeline has returned to operations following the cyberattack that snarled gas supply for the eastern U.S. for days, according to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

"Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal," Colonial Pipeline said in a statement. "Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period."

"Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal," the statement added.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that the announcement "means there’s an end in sight for the supply disruptions that have affected States across the Southeast." 

"As Colonial Pipeline works to safely and fully resume operations over the next few days, we will stay in close contact with the company and will continue to offer any assistance needed—as we have done since the outset of this shutdown on Friday," she continued. 

COLONIAL PIPELINE HACK: KNOWNS AND UNKNOWNS ABOUT THE ATTACK

Flynn told host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday that even though he believes it will take a few weeks for the situation to get back to normal, "we're going to start to see a lot of supply hit the market right at the Memorial Day weekend."

He added that he expects gas prices to "go up maybe a couple more pennies," then "ease off a little bit."

Flynn then pointed out that "that doesn’t change the fact that we’re in an inflationary cycle for gasoline and we’re going to have a very expensive summer."

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The ransomware attack, attributed to this Russian hacking group DarkSide, targeted the 5,500-mile pipeline responsible for more than 100 million gallons of fuel a day. Several governors declared states of emergency in response to the crisis.

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Flynn called the situation "a major issue for national security" and energy security.

"It’s a real reason why we have to appreciate the pipelines in this country," he continued. "We fight against building new pipelines, which is the safest way to move oil, but we have to realize the vital importance of these to our economy."

FOX Business’ Michael Ruiz, Bradford Betz and Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.