DeSantis declares state of emergency due to Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in Florida due to the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline.

According to the governor's office, DeSantis signed executive order 21-105 in response to a cyberattack on the pipeline, resulting in gas shortages across the eastern seaboard.  

The cyberattack disabled computer systems responsible for fuel production.

MORE: Gas shortages not expected in Central Florida, despite pipeline disruption

The executive order says "the disruption of Colonial Pipeline operations poses a significant and immediate threat to the continued delivery of such fuel products to the State of Florida and many other states located in the Eastern United States," and the attack "poses a severe threat to the State of Florida and requires that immediate measures be taken to protect and to facilitate the continued delivery of such fuel products to this State, until such time as Colonial Pipeline operations have fully resumed."

MORE: Colonial Pipeline attack: White House launches ‘all of government’ response

Experts say fuel shortages are not expected in Central Florida, but that has not stopped many Floridians from lining up at gas stations in fear of a possible shortage.

The governor's executive order removes limits on weight for tanker trucks. It also removes requirements that they only travel at certain times during the day.

This order is going to have a big impact on the Panhandle, because much of their gas supply comes from Georgia, which is served by the colonial pipeline.

The goal is to get trucks moving into that part of Florida right away, where between a third and half of gas stations are out of gas.

MORE: More than 1,000 gas stations run out of fuel

Supplies are also being moved from Jacksonville to the Panhandle, and tanker trucks need to be able to move up the East Coast to reinforce the Jacksonville area.

Thankfully, much of the gas in Central Florida comes from refiners in the gulf, which have not been impacted by the shutdown.

"I think Florida in some markets, especially the panhandle, is going to see higher prices. I think if you are in Miami, Tampa or Jacksonville, maybe prices go up two or three cents a gallon. It's hard to say. The futures market is anticipating the Colonial Pipeline will restart their operations by this weekend. I would caution people it is likely to get a little worse before it gets better," said Andrew Lipow, of Lipow Oil Associates.

That's because he does not expect Colonial Pipeline to make a decision at least until tomorrow.

He says prices have already gone up in the mid-Atlantic and parts of the southeast by six to eight cents a gallon, especially because moving gas by truck for long distances costs much more money.

The governor's order also makes a point of saying price gouging is already against the law, and in these cases, we often see the attorney general's office on the lookout.