As the country's largest fuel pipeline network continues to flow, the oil shortage in the U.S. has eased. Thousands of stations across the nation received gasoline supplies early Monday but thousands more are still dry.
Privately held Colonial Pipeline's 5,500-mile network is now back in full operation after being shut down for six days following a cyberattack. The nearly one-week closure prevented millions of barrels of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel from reaching fuel tanks - resulting in a nationwide panic-buying spree.
"Colonial Pipeline is currently shipping at normal rates, based on shipper nominations. It will take some time for the supply chain to fully catch up," a Colonial Pipeline representative said Monday.
Americans filled their fuel tanks and jerry cans across the country as thousands of gas stations ran dry last week. Refiners and fuel distributors are reportedly struggling to catch up with the demand, which is expected to surge during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of the month.
According to data published by GasBuddy, more than 80% of gas stations in states like Washington, D.C. and North Carolina are still empty. The tracking company said less than half of stations are still dry in states such as Maryland, Virginia, South Caroline and Georgia.
At the peak of the shortage last, more than 16,000 gas stations ran dry. GasBuddy said that the outage dropped to about 12,405 stations Sunday.
GasBuddy said demand for fuel dropped by 15% over the weekend as Americans pulled back from hoarding. The AAA said fuel prices have remained elevated, with a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline costing an average of $3.04 - the highest since 2014.
Lipow Oil Associates in Houston said the situation is gradually getting better as more stations replenish their supplies. With panic buying now subsiding, prices and supply are also expected to taper in the coming weeks.
"Every day, gasoline supplies are getting better as Colonial operates at capacity, and additional oil tankers from the Gulf Coast make their way to the East Coast," the association said.