Most gas stations in Oak Ridge had either no gas to sell or had limited supplies on Wednesday evening.
Oak Ridge Today counted seven stations that had no gas to sell between about 7 and 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Four others appeared to be operating with some limits. Eddie Hair gas station had a $25 purchase limit. The Food City gas station said it had no regular and mid-grade fuel, while Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue said it had only unleaded gas and diesel. The Shell gas station at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Jefferson had only regular fuel (87 octane).
The Mobil gas station on Oak Ridge Turnpike, across from Food City, appeared to be operating normally.
One of the stations, the Exxon station on Oak Ridge Turnpike, appeared to have no gas to sell at about 7:30 p.m.—the pumps had “out of order” signs on them—but a gas truck pulled into the station at about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.
The limited gas supplies started at least as early as Tuesday evening, when most of Kroger’s gas pumps were closed and signs were posted at Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue that told customers that regular, plus, and premium gas were unavailable.
The limited gas supplies started after a recent cybersecurity ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. That pipeline is one of the largest in the United States, and it carries fuel from Houston to New York. It was temporarily shut down.
Experts have said there is no gasoline shortage, but there have been reports of panic-buying, including videos and photos posted on social media of people (not in Oak Ridge) hoarding and pumping gas into multiple gas cans, plastic bags, and water tanks, among other storage containers.
Colonial Pipeline restarted its operations Wednesday evening after a six-day shutdown caused by the ransomware attack, the Tennessean reported. The company said it could take several days for the supply of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to return to normal, and some Tennesseans could experience some “lingering effects” with limited gasoline supply at some local stations, the newspaper said.
“This is mostly because it simply takes time to move the gasoline through the pipeline and be transported to our local stations,” AAA Tennessee spokesperson Megan Cooper told the Tennessean.