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Colonial Pipeline Shutdown From Cyberattack Likely Won't Mean Higher Pump Prices In Oklahoma

KWGS News File Photo

A pipeline carrying gasoline from Texas to New Jersey could be offline through this week after a cyberattack, but that shouldn’t have much of an impact on prices at the pump in Oklahoma.

AAA Oklahoma spokesman Mark Madeja said there are several factors insulating the state from price increases with the main line of the Colonial Pipeline shut down.

"We have Cushing right in our backyard with a huge reservoir; we have our refineries here; and that Colonial Pipeline services east of the Mississippi, whereas we have a dedicated line that comes up from the Gulf [of Mexico]. So, I think northeastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma in general, are going to be just fine," Madeja said.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers almost half of all fuel to the east coast, was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend, and gasoline futures have already ticked higher. Tennessee, Mississippi and east coast states may see price increases of 3 to 7 cents a gallon this week.

The Biden administration loosened petroleum transport regulations to help avoid supply disruptions on the east coast. That could cause delayed deliveries in other areas.

Madeja said something other than supply and delivery impacts could cause a slow, steady rise in Oklahoma gas prices soon.

"Now that we are starting to travel more post-COVID, summer travel is expected to be off the charts, road trips are going to be very popular. So, I expect to see a lot of vehicle miles traveled this summer. That demand in and of itself will push prices upward, most likely, but not by a lot," Madeja said.

According to AAA, Oklahoma is currently among the 10 least-expensive markets for gasoline. The state's $2.70 per gallon average price is higher than just Mississippi's, Louisiana's, Texas', South Carolina's and Alabama's.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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