ATLANTA — Normal restrictions on commercial trucks in Georgia are being waived under an executive order Gov. Brian Kemp has issued in response to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.
The Alpharetta-based company that supplies nearly half of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast reported a ransomware attack last Friday that forced a shutdown of a 5,500-mile pipeline running from Texas to New Jersey. The FBI blamed the attack on DarkSide, a group of hackers believed to operate out of Russia or Eastern Europe.
To help relieve gasoline shortages brought on by the shutdown, Kemp issued an executive order Monday suspending federal regulations governing the number of hours commercial truck drivers can operate and waiving normal weight, height and length limits on trucks subject to state “oversize” permits.
The order also suspends the collection of gasoline and diesel fuel taxes during the emergency and prohibits price gouging.
Georgia governors have issued similar executive orders during other disruptions in fuel supplies, usually following hurricanes or other natural disasters that affect refineries or pipelines.
The shutdown of the Colonial pipeline is expected to send pump prices higher and force refiners to cut production because they can’t transport the fuel.
Kemp urged motorists not to panic.
“There is no need to rush to the gas station to fill up every tank you have and hoard gas,” he said. “With the measures we have taken today, I am hopeful we can get more supply to stations and get through to this weekend when we hope Colonial will return to normal.”
Colonial officials say they are working on “substantially restoring operational service” by the end of this week.
Kemp’s executive order is due to expire at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.