Stocking up on gas is ‘dangerous, not necessary,’ SC Gov. McMaster says, urging calm

Editor’s note: Check out our coverage on how to safely handle and store gasoline, what is (and isn’t gas) causing fuel prices to increase in South Carolina.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster asked residents to stay calm and avoid hoarding fuel as the state’s gasoline supply crunch continues.

“Don’t don’t go out and try to stock up for the next couple of weeks,” he told reporters Wednesday. “It’s dangerous. It’s not necessary.”

The gasoline supply problems started Friday when the Colonial Pipeline system, which runs from Texas to New Jersey and serves 70% of the oil supplies to Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Southern Virginia, shut down. The halt in fuel movement came as a result of a group of Russian criminals hacking the Colonial Pipeline, according to the FBI.

“I know that company and others are working hard to see that we fill this gap until we can get back to normal,” McMaster said after attending a Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s commencement ceremony in Myrtle Beach.

McMaster’s comments came just over an hour before U.S. Energy Department Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted that the Colonial Pipeline would soon be back online.

“We just got off the phone with #ColonialPipeline CEO. They are restarting pipeline operations today at ~5pm. More soon,” Granholm tweeted.

The state has seen dozens of gas stations run out of gas, with upwards of 16% of stations currently empty, according to Gasbuddy.

In the meantime, McMaster said the state transportation department is working to ensure school buses have enough fuel to get children to and from school.

This has happened before,” he said. “We’ve had shutdowns of the pipelines before — not through hacking like this — but we’ll get through it, and I urge everybody just to stay calm and don’t overdo it.

McMaster noted that the state has laws against price gouging to protect consumers. Yesterday, the state’s attorney general Alan Wilson formally put those laws into effect and asked consumers to report any businesses they believe are engaging in illegal price gouging.

In response to the news about the Colonial Pipeline restarting, McMaster tweeted, “This is great news for South Carolina and the other states that have been impacted. Supply won’t immediately return to normal levels, but there is still no reason for anyone to hoard gas or rush to the gas station.”