(Updated at 4 p.m.) Arlington gas stations were busy Tuesday afternoon, but by nightfall lines formed at numerous stations as more drivers filled up in anticipation of potential shortages.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency today, in response to the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline system, a primary source of gasoline for stations across the state. The governor’s declaration is intended to address possible fuel shortages caused by the pipeline shutdown.
From a press release:
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a temporary fuel transportation waiver to increase the supply of gasoline, the Governor’s emergency declaration allows state agencies to issue their own waivers as required by the state. Executive Order Seventy-Eight also provides increased flexibility and funding for state and local governments to ensure adequate fuel supply.
“This emergency declaration will help the Commonwealth prepare for any potential supply shortages and ensure Virginia motorists have access to fuel as we respond to this evolving situation,” said Governor Northam.
Earlier today, EPA Administrator Michael Regan issued an emergency fuel waiver to help alleviate fuel shortages in Virginia and other states whose supply of reformulated gasoline has been impacted by the pipeline shutdown. This waiver will continue through May 18, 2021.
In Arlington Tuesday night, nearly all gas stations along Lee Highway had lines of cars waiting to fuel up — and at least one had its pumps shut off with signs saying gas was “not available.”
Similar lines were seen in other parts of the county.
— Brian Gannon (@bgannon97) May 12, 2021
Amid the panic buying, officials say they hope to get most of the pipeline back up and running by the end of the week.
Already, as of Wednesday afternoon, more gas shortages were reported. At the Cherrydale five points intersection, for instance, both the Liberty and the Exxon stations were out of gas.