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2-state gas prices rise in wake of pipeline cyberattack — but Augusta gets a slight break

This is a gas pump nozzel in a car filling up at a pump in West Mifflin, Pa., on Friday, Nov....
This is a gas pump nozzel in a car filling up at a pump in West Mifflin, Pa., on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)(Gene J. Puskar | AP)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 11:05 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - Georgia gas prices increased at the pump compared to a week ago, with motorists in the Peach State paying an average $2.76 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

The good news is that we’re not paying as much as the rest of the state in the Augusta area.

The average in Richmond County is $2.75, and it’s even lower in Columbia County, at about $2.73, according to AAA.

Monday’s state average is 6 cents more than a week ago, 6 cents more than last month, and $1.13 more than this time last year.

It now costs motorists $41.40 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline; that is $4.50 more than what motorists paid in January of 2020, when pump prices hit their peak of $2.46 per gallon.

Across the river in South Carolina

GasBuddy’s daily survey of 3,028 stations in South Carolina says the average price of gasoline is sitting at $2.66 per gallon Monday.

GasBuddy says prices in South Carolina are 7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand $1.07 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to price reports, the cheapest station in South Carolina is priced at $2.43 per gallon Monday while the most expensive is $3.01 per gallon, a difference of 58 cents per gallon.

The national picture

The national average price of gasoline has risen 4.5 cents per gallon in the last week, and GasBuddy says national prices are averaging $2.95 per gallon Monday. The national average is up 10 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.12 per gallon higher than a year ago, GasBuddy says.

“While average gas prices jumped last week as the nation continues to see COVID-19 recovery, all eyes are now on the Colonial Pipeline and the fact a cyberattack has completely shut all lines, leading to what could become a major challenge for fuel delivery,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

He said if the pipeline returns to service in the next day or two, the challenges will be minimal, but if not, there could be higher prices and challenges for motorists needing fuel in Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, Northern Florida and surrounding areas.

Gasoline futures were ticking higher Monday after the cyberextortion attempt on the pipeline that carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. It delivers roughly 45 percent of fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the company.

Colonial Pipeline said Saturday that it had been hit by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat. Two people close to the investigation said that the shutdown had been carried out by a criminal gang known as DarkSide that cultivates a Robin Hood image of stealing from corporations and giving a cut to charity.

Futures for crude and fuel, prices that traders pay for contracts for delivery at some point in the future, typically begin to rise each year as the driving season approaches. The price you pay at the gas pump tends to follow.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT, WALB, WCSC and The Associated Press