ATLANTA — Now that we've gotten the welcome news that Colonial Pipeline is restoring operations to the pipeline shut down because of a ransomware attack this week, setting off a massive run on gasoline, the next obvious question is: When will things get back to normal?
It certainly won't happen overnight. According to the most recent figures tweeted by GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan, half of all stations in Georgia remain without fuel - only Virginia and the Carolinas are seeing it worse.
In metro Atlanta, the number is north of 70%.
With Colonial Pipeline bringing things back online, the company is saying it could take "several days" before things get back to normal at the pumps.
Gas Buddy's De Haan told 11Alive's Jon Shirek on Wednesday night that it could take even longer - something like three weeks or longer.
He framed it as an issue of the longer the pipeline is down - in this case, nearly a week - the longer it takes to restore the normal flow of fuel.
“If the pipeline was down one day, it would take a day to get back up” DeHaan said. “Two days, it might take 3 or 4 days. Now down 6 days, it might take 25 days to get back to normal.”
That could mean people continue to hoard gas and stretch out lines at the pumps well past Memorial Day Weekend.
According to De Haan, the primary issue is the hoarding we've seen this week: Even with the pipeline shut down, there would be supplies for gas stations that could last a while.
But everyone's already bought up those supplies. And now it's a matter of replenishing them.
So, how long?
It depends on where you live, of course, but it looks like on the short range shortages of some sort could continue at the pumps at least into next week and on the long range possibly through the next three weeks and into early next month.
In the meantime, experts continue to advise you not to hoard gas: The more people do that, the longer this goes on.