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Gov. DeSantis declares state of emergency over cyberattack targeting Colonial Pipeline

Florida's governor is concerned a gas shortage could cause problems for the state's economy and impact the people who live here.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over the cyberattack that targeted Colonial Pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45-percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, halted operations last week after revealing a ransomware attack had affected some of its systems. 

News of the cyberattack sent some sprinting to the gas station to fill up, and that includes Floridians, according to DeSantis.

At a news conference earlier on Tuesday, the governor said that Florida was monitoring the cyberattack and the impact it is having on communities in the northern part of the state. He also called for more action from the federal government.

"I think this is something that demands really serious federal attention. This was essentially a cyberattack on critical infrastructure in our country," he said. "You can't just say it's a private pipeline therefore, we're not gonna be involved. No, the U.S. government needs to be involved. They need to help mitigate this."

DeSantis added that he feared that gas shortages could cause problems for Florida's economy and impact Floridians' "convenience of life."

The governor's order says the disruption of the Colonial Pipeline's operations poses an "immediate threat" to the delivery of fuel to the Sunshine State.

To help combat that, he said Florida is relaxing restrictions to be able to get more fuel trucks into parts of the state that need more fuel. 

"We don't want to see these long gas lines persist throughout the northern part of our state," DeSantis said.

Under the governor's emergency order, the state would be waiving weight and size restrictions on fuel trucks to allow for more gas to reach the region. The order also makes price gouging unlawful. The state of emergency will be in effect for 30 days.

Not everyone believes Florida will see a major gas shortage. According to AAA, Florida is not largely dependent on the Colonial Pipeline for gas and rather has a majority of its fuel delivered from Gulf Coast refineries.

"Because of this, Florida should remain well supplied with gasoline, despite the pipeline outage," it adds.

But that doesn't guarantee Floridians won't feel the effects at the pumps. 

"The longer the pipeline is down, the greater the threat of rising gas prices," AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said.

According to Gas Buddy's Patrick De Haan, 2.9 percent of Florida gas stations were without fuel, as of 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

In an effort to ease supply concerns, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency declaration that relaxes hours of service for tanker trucks transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products. 

The declaration applies to 17 states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia.

In the meantime, you can check gas prices and fuel availability near you by using GasBuddy's app and online tools. The crowd-sourced service has features showing stations that have fuel and the price of gas before you reach the pump.

Under a state of emergency, businesses are not allowed to unfairly hike the price of necessary commodities, like gas. 

The Attorney General activated Florida's price gouging hotline. You can call 866-966-7226 or click here to report suspected price gouging. 

Attorney General Ashley Moody reminded Floridians to avoid price gouging from happening they should only purchase gas when they need it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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