After a recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, motorists are filling up as worries mount that the cyber-attack will affect gasoline availability in the area. Many fuel stations are running out of gas due to panic-buying and gas hoarding. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

State officials are urging Mississippi residents to refrain from panic buying gasoline after a cyber attack halted operations for the Colonial Pipeline system on Friday.

“The reality is we do not have a fuel shortage in this state… The greatest risk that we face right now is panic buying,” Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, said in a video statement on Monday. 

While some gas stations across the state have reported low or empty fuel inventories, officials say that less than 30% of Mississippi’s fuel supply comes from the Colonial Pipeline.

“So stay calm — buy your normal level of weekly gasoline — and live your life! If everyone takes this approach, this will be behind us with minimal impact,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in a Facebook post.

The 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline system, which runs from Texas to New Jersey and primarily serves the East Coast, came under a ransomware attack on Friday. It delivered nearly half of the fuel for the East Coast. The corporate operator of the pipeline released a statement on Wednesday saying the company had started to resume operations, but it would take “several days” until fuel deliveries return to normal.

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Will Stribling covered healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.