Maine and Northern New England are unlikely to feel any shocks from the several-day shutdown of a major East Coast gasoline pipeline after a cyber attack last week. The pipeline began resuming operations Wednesday.

The Colonial Pipeline connects refineries on the Gulf Coast to markets in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast, from Texas to New Jersey. It was partially shut down last Friday, after a cyberattack blamed on a criminal group threatened the company’s systems.

Colonial delivers 45 percent of the gasoline and other fuels consumed on the East Coast, and the shutdown has led to shortages, panic buying and states of emergency declared in some southern states including North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. The Biden administration last week approved emergency measures allowing truck drivers to work overtime to deliver fuel.

Colonial, which delivers 100 million barrels a day through its pipeline, said Wednesday that it had begun restarting pipeline operations and has prioritized supplying markets that are not supplied by other systems or are facing shortages. The company said it would take several days to fully restore pipeline operations.

Maine and the other northern New England states, however, have been relatively insulated from the immediate effects of the pipeline crisis. Most of the gasoline and other petroleum products used in the state are imported – almost all from eastern Canada – and transported to marine ports.

“New England motorists should be somewhat isolated from substantial increases in gas prices due to the ongoing Colonial Pipeline shutdown,” said AAA Northern New England Communications Director Patrick Moody in an email prior to Colonial announcing it was resuming service. “New England states source our fuel from other places, including foreign imports, and we are serviced by other pipelines.”


The average national gas price on Wednesday hit $3 a gallon, the highest price since 2014. Maine drivers are paying slightly less, $2.95 per gallon on average, Moody said.

Fuel for transportation and other uses is imported into New England ports at Searsport, Portland, Portsmouth, N.H., and Boston, brought in by barge from New York and New Jersey, and is trucked or brought by train from New York and Canada.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 57 percent of the motor fuel consumed in New England is imported. Of those imports, 85 percent comes from eastern Canada. The remainder is domestic, but “there is no way to know how much of that is coming up the Colonial Pipeline,” said administration spokesman Chris Higginbotham.

The Governor’s Energy Office was closely monitoring the pipeline situation Wednesday but was not anticipating supply issues in Maine, Director Dan Burgess said in a statement.

“We are monitoring for secondary effects, such as on gasoline prices or the supply of other fuels, if the interruption of service is prolonged,” Burgess said before pipeline operations resumed.

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