‘Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline’: Officials warn amid panic-buying

National

A customer pumps gas at Costco, as others wait in line, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. Gasoline futures are ticking higher following a cyberextortion attempt on the Colonial Pipeline, a vital U.S. pipeline that carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(ABC4) – Following a cyberattack on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, many Americans rushed to their local gas station to stock up on fuel like it was toilet paper at the start of the pandemic.

While there is no gasoline shortage, according to government officials like U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and energy analysts like AAA, the hack prompted thousands to panic-buy at the pump.

GasBuddy reports the average price-per-gallon has passed $3 for the first time since 2014.

While it’s unclear if the price jump is because of the cyberattack, gas stations across southeastern states have been struggling to get fuel. Pumps in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi have been bagged and signed, warning drivers that there is simply no gas in the tank for them.

SLIDESHOW: Pumps warn drivers there is no fuel amid Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Before these tanks closed, drivers were lining up at the pump, countering officials’ statements that there is no shortage. These photos show drivers bumper-to-bumper, waiting to top of their tanks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennesee.

SLIDESHOW: Drivers line up at gas pumps amid concerns of shortage

While the pipeline halt largely affects states along the east coast, panic-buying is happening across the nation. As Americans rush to stock up, safety officials are reminding of ways to safely transport gasoline.

“Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says in a Wednesday Twitter thread. They offer additional fuel-transportation safety tips as well:

  • Use containers approved for fuel, like the iconic red containers with a yellow spout.
  • Follow the gas canister manufacturer instructions for storing and transporting gasoline.
  • When using a gas canister, never pour gasoline over or near an open flame.
  • Never pour flammable liquids from a container over an exposed flame.

“We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly,” USCPSC says. “They take risks that can have deadly consequences. If you know someone who is thinking about bringing a container not meant for fuel to get gas, please let them know it’s dangerous.”

The Colonial Pipeline could be back to service as soon as the weekend.

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