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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colonial Pipeline, a huge network that supplies eastern states with gasoline, diesel and other products, is shut down thanks to a major ransomware attack disclosed over the weekend.

Why it matters: Colonial is the largest refined products pipeline network in the country, transporting over 100 million gallons per day.

The Colonial Pipeline system. Image: courtesy of Colonial Pipeline

The company provides roughly 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast, per its website and published reports.

  • "It’s the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure we know of in the United States," veteran energy analyst Amy Myers Jaffe tells Politico.

What's new: The company said Sunday evening that while the main portions of the pipeline remain offline, "smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points" are back up.

  • Gasoline futures are trading higher, but the ultimate effect on prices will depend on the duration of the shutdown.
  • Major price increases are not expected if it only lasts a few days.
  • "[An] extended outage would likely see spot retail price spikes and even product shortages in harder-to-resupply middle and southeastern states, especially if there’s hoarding," Rapidan Energy Group said in a note.

What they're saying: Via Reuters, "While the U.S. government investigation is in the early stages, a former U.S. official and three industry sources said the hackers are suspected to be a professional cybercriminal group called DarkSide."

Where it stands: On Sunday, the Transportation Department issued a regional emergency declaration in 17 states that enables increased trucking hours to deliver fuel by road.

  • The move is designed to "avoid disruption to supply," the agency said. More broadly, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CBS' "Face the Nation" there's an "all hands on deck" effort to resume operations.

Go deeper

Emergency declaration issued in 17 states and D.C. over fuel pipeline cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration said it's "working with" fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline to try and restart operations after a ransomware attack took it offline.

Why it matters: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico.

Updated May 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Ransomware attack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of a ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline said Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant breach of critical infrastructure and comes on the heels of multiple other major cyberattacks on both U.S. companies and the federal government.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 min ago - Politics & Policy

America's youth turn left

Expand chart
Reproduced from John Della Volpe (Data: Exit polls, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research). Chart: Axios Visuals

Gen Xers have always been a swing voting group, but their kids — Gen Z, sometimes called Zoomers — overwhelmingly back Democrats.

What they're saying: "Generational replacement will not be kind to Trump’s Republican Party," John Della Volpe, polling director at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, and CEO of SocialSphere, told me.