ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp Friday extended through May 22 an executive order he issued last Monday to address the gasoline shortage that began with the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.
The 5,500-mile pipeline that provides nearly half of the gasoline on the East Coast was shut down a week ago following a ransomware attack perpetrated by hackers operating out of Russia.
Colonial restarted the pipeline on Wednesday. But by then, panicked motorists had depleted gasoline supplies across the Southeast, with many stations running out of fuel.
“While Colonial Pipeline is now operational, the company has informed the public that it will be a few days until full service is available statewide,” Kemp said Friday in a prepared statement. “This executive order will ensure fuel supply chains have every resource needed to deliver gas quickly and safely, and that Georgians aren’t hit with state gas taxes at the pump during this shortage.
“I continue to ask Georgians to only purchase the fuel they need for essential travel through the upcoming weekend.”
The executive order suspended the collection of the state sales tax on gasoline and prohibited price gouging by gas stations. It also lifted the usual weight restrictions on fuel delivery trucks and limits on hours commercial truck drivers can operate.
To free up additional fuel supplies, the federal government approved Georgia’s request to permit the sale of a blend of gasoline normally sold only during the winter.
While President Joe Biden said U.S. national security officials don’t believe the Russian government was involved in the ransomware attack, he said he has urged the Russians to more aggressively pursue cyber criminals.