The United States is no stranger to fuel crises. The most recent disaster centered on the Colonial Pipeline, which is located in the southeastern part of the country. “It is the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the U.S. The pipeline is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York.” The company stopped transporting oil after its system was hacked (May 7) by a ransomware attack. This pipeline supplies 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast. The vulnerability of fuel lines, government installations, companies, hospitals, etc. has many cyber security experts concerned. The gas line has resumed service after the company paid $5 million to the hackers.
The 1970s experienced two major gasoline shortages. Conflict in the Middle East caused a gas shortage in 1973. OPEC initiated an oil embargo in response to the United States siding with Israel during the Yom Kippur War. “At the time, OPEC accounted for an average of two-thirds of American oil imports in the 70s. ” Long lines, limited hours, and increased costs were just some of the problems that consumers faced. The second fuel shortage took place in 1979. The Shah of Iran was deposed and replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini who used Iran’s oil as a tool to restrain the economy of the West.
Hopefully, future fuel sources will not depend on any specific countries or leaders to move cars or planes. Hybrid and electric cars are becoming more the norm but they still have issues that must be addressed. Researchers are studying hydrogen, which is another potential source of fuel. Conceivably, scientists will be able to discover a cheaper and cleaner source of energy.