BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Colonial Pipeline now admits paying off cybercriminals to regain control of its fuel delivery network. The Wall Street Journal reports the company paid a $4 million ransom.
As far as gas prices, it is turning darkness into light, the calm after the storm, even if it’s only momentarily. Pump prices have always been a joke in Western New York, but now they are not laughing so much in other areas of the country.
When hackers slammed the Colonial Pipeline with ransomware, company officials shut down their delivery network, which supplies nearly half of the gasoline along the East Coast.
“It is another thing that disrupts lives,’ said one gas station customer.
But the Colonial Pipeline is not as crucial to gas supplies in Upstate New York as it is in the Southeast which experienced gas shortages, and price spikes.
Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central NY told us, “All the problems with the Colonial Pipeline and the supply and the disruption really happened down in the Southeast. Most of this region up here was spared, the Western New York region especially.”
Elizabeth Carey of the AAA says the Colonial Pipeline chaos has, in a way, flipped Western New York’s pump price fortunes upside down. While gas prices are going up everywhere, Buffalo is not going up as fast as other regions of the country.
The national average is now at $3.04 a gallon of regular — New York is $3.06, and Buffalo’s average price is $2.97. Good news for some.
Delta Sonic customer Peter Sortino added, “If it doesn’t go up too much I don’t pay too much attention to it. When it starts going up 75 cents to $1.00 a gallon then I’m concerned.”
Better news for others.
“I think it’s great. Usually, they go up here higher than everybody else does. So we might as well get the advantage for a change,” said another Delta Sonic customer Mark Williams.
Carey says even after Colonial Pipeline solved its ransomware hack, the gas still is not flowing at full speed.
“There is another whole issue going on with these truck drivers. There is a shortage of truck drivers. There is still a supply issue, as far as delivering to the gasoline to the different locations.”
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.