RALEIGH - In response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, Governor Roy Cooper on Monday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina and temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state.

On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline system reported a ransomware cyber-attack, resulting in a temporary shutdown of that line.

The Colonial Pipeline is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina.

“Today’s emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel,” Governor Cooper said Monday.

The order received concurrence from the Council of State.

Gas prices jump

The national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96 on the week, according to AAA. "If the trend continues," the AAA report said, "an increase of three more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014 –the last time we saw average prices at $2.99 and higher."

North Carolina's average for regular gas went from $2.67 last week to $2.78 on Tuesday. Virginia's increased from $2.73 a week ago to $2.79 Tuesday. 

Prices had already been on the rise in the spring prior to the pipeline shutdown before spiking. 

AAA also reported that limited fuel availability could result in the states served by the pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York. However, the motoring and leisure travel membership organization advises agains't panic-buying and offers these tips:

  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible avoid high-traffic times of day.
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.