What You Need to Know About the Gas Shortage in the South as Costs of Everyday Items Are Rising

The national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96

gas shortage
People fill up gas tanks in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

Prices on goods nationwide are surging thanks in part to inflation, supply chain disruptions and a cybersecurity attack that's sent gas prices soaring.

Everything from the cost of Kellogg's cereal and Coca-Cola to used cars, airfare and hotel prices have been on the rise, according to NPR.

"Everything you can think of is going up," William Lee, chief economist at the Milken Institute, told the outlet.

Consumer prices increased 4.2 percent over the last year — the largest 12-month increase since a 4.9 percent increase for the period ending in September 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a news release on Wednesday.

The release noted that the index for used cars and trucks rose 10 percent in April — the biggest one-month increase since the series began in 1953 — while the food index rose .4 percent.

According to NPR, the jump in prices comes as the cost of materials like lumber and steel have increased amid interruptions to the global supply chain, and the trillions of dollars pumped into the economy by the government to try and offset damage done by the COVID pandemic.

Atlanta Gas shortage
Cars line up for gas in Atlanta. Megan Varner/Getty Images

CNBC noted, too, that experts have to look at base effects, or the fact that inflation was very low at the same time in 2020.

"Year-over-year comparisons are going to be distorted for a few months because of the pandemic's impact," the outlet reported.

Meanwhile, the national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96, according to a news release from AAA. Should the trend continue, an increase of three more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014, the last time average prices were at $2.99 or higher.

The expensive fuel comes after a cybersecurity attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline networks stretching from Texas to New York Harbor.

Though Colonial Pipeline said the networks were shut down as a precaution, the move sent prices soaring, as the pipeline delivers approximately 45 percent of all fuel to the East Coast, the release said.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said in a statement that the impact of the shutdown will vary regionally, but that areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia to Delaware are most likely to be affected, and may see prices as much as seven cents higher than usual.

The statement said that other parts of the country will see little impact, but that the effects will be bigger the longer the pipeline is shut down.

The FBI confirmed on Monday that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks.

"We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation," the FBI said in a statement.

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