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Cyberattack To Push Mass. Gas Prices Higher

A motorist pumps gas at the Super Petroleum gas station in Lawrence, Mass. (Charles Krupa/AP)
A motorist pumps gas at the Super Petroleum gas station in Lawrence, Mass. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Gas prices in Massachusetts rose by 6 cents a gallon over the past week and analysts at AAA expect further increases due to a gas pipeline that's been shut down because of a cyberattack.

AAA Northeast reported Monday that the average price of a gallon of gas in Massachusetts is $2.86, 10 cents a gallon lower than the national average.

In an update Sunday night, Colonial Pipeline Company said it learned Friday that it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack "and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware." The company said it took systems offline to contain the threat, which halted pipeline operations and some IT systems.

Colonial said its operations team was developing a system restart plan. "While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations," the company said.

Noting the Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45 percent of all fuel to the East Coast, with a pipeline that runs from Texas to New York Harbor, AAA said it did not have any word of when the mainline, including the gasoline line, will be operational.

"This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally. Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week," said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs. "These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week."

Gas prices in Massachusetts are up 12 cents compared to a month ago and 92 cents higher than the price of gas a year ago: $1.94 per gallon.

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