Colonial Pipeline nearly fully operational; 68 percent of N.C. stations without gas

There were lines and gas shortages Monday morning at gas stations along the Outer Banks. [Sam Walker photo]

About 68 percent of North Carolina gas stations didn’t have fuel as of 12:45 p.m. Thursday, but Colonial Pipeline says most of the system is operational, with a goal of all markets receiving product by the end of the day.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden blamed Russia-based criminals for last weekend’s ransomeware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York and supplies about 45 percent of the fuel on the East Coast.

“We do not believe the Russian government itself was involved,” Biden said, noting that it’s going to take some time for fuel to reach markets.

“This is a temporary situation. Do not get more gas than you need,” Biden said.

Colonial Pipeline said it has made substantial progress in safely restarting the system.

“This would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members across the pipeline who worked safely and tirelessly through the night to get our lines up and running,” the company said in a statement. “We are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times.”

Federal and state officials have eased transportation and environmental regulations to help keep gas flowing, and anti-price gouging laws are in effect.