President Joe Biden urged Americans on Thursday to be patient as the Colonial Pipeline restored fuel deliveries.
“Let me be clear, we’ll not feel the effects at the pump immediately,” Biden said. “This is not like flicking on a light switch.”
The president delivered remarks on the gas shortage at the White House, warning it would take “several days” to get gas supplies back to normal.
“There may be some hic-hic-hiccups — like I just had,” Biden said with a chuckle, laughing with reporters as he stumbled over the word.
The president also urged drivers to ration their own use of gasoline until service is restored.
“Don’t panic, number one,” Biden said, acknowledging the long lines and gas stations were “extremely stressful.”
“This is a temporary situation,” he added. “Don’t get more gas than you need in the next few days.”
He also warned station owners against using the crisis to gouge consumers.
“Nobody should be using this situation for financial gain. That’s what the hackers are trying to do. That’s what they’re about. Not us,” he said.
Biden said his administration would lift driving hours and weight restrictions for truckers carrying fuel to the region and issued a 20-day Environmental Protection Agency waiver for fuel standards to get more fuel to affected areas. He also said he had waived the Jones Act on Wednesday, allowing non-US flagged vessels to deliver refined fuel to the region from the Gulf of Mexico.
“These steps are temporary, but they will remain in place until service is restored,” Biden said.
The president cited the F.B.I. statement that the Russian government was not involved in the attack, even though he said the criminals who conducted the hack were living in Russia.
When asked if he was briefed about the company paying the ransom, Biden replied, “I have no comment on that.”