Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

DeSantis issues state of emergency to relax truck restrictions amid pipe shutdown

Florida relaxed truck-weight restrictions to get more fuel on the road as demand for gasoline surged in some areas after a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel to the nation’s East Coast, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

DeSantis signed a state of emergency order enabling the relaxed restrictions on Tuesday evening. The order also bans price gouging.

“We really do need the federal government to step up and help, and we don’t want to see these long gas lines persist throughout the northern part of our state,” DeSantis said while at a bill-signing event in Jacksonville.

In the order, DeSantis wrote the pipeline’s closure presents a “severe threat” to Florida that requires “immediate measures be taken” until it reopens.

Earlier in the day, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried urged people to remain calm.

“Floridians: don’t panic-buy gas, don’t hoard gas, and don’t form long lines at gas stations during the #GasShortage,” Fried tweeted.

The AAA Auto Club noted that Florida gets most of its fuel through seaports from Gulf Coast refineries.

The cyber attack, believed to be by a Russian group called Dark Side, resulted in the pipeline temporarily halting operations on Friday.

The pipeline transports fuel from Texas to the Northeast, providing about 45 percent of the East Coast’s supply. A decision about fully resuming operations on the mail pipeline is expected Wednesday. Some smaller lines remain in operation.

“Things will be back to normal soon, (and) we’re asking people not to hoard … we’re all over this,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters Tuesday during the White House press briefing.