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No lack of gas: stop panicking and what not to do


You don’t have to rush to the gas station.

Tetra Images / GettyImages

is there a global gas shortage? In a word, no. Reports of gas stations running low on gas have been accelerated by panic buying in some states in the Southeastern US, which has caused temporary gasoline shortages. The situation started when the Colonial Pipeline was hit by a cyber attack, which shut down the petroleum pipeline last weekend.

The Colonial Pipeline Company is now supplying gas to its major markets using alternative transportation as it works to restore service to the pipeline, the company reported Thursday morning. Meanwhile, fears of a regional gas shortage have fueled hour-long queues at the pump and gas prices soared, with the average price over $ 3 in the US. as result.

The pipeline shutdown is temporary, with government officials and the AAA urging people not to panic by buying gas or engaging in other behaviors that could aggravate the situation or endanger your health. Here’s what not to do. (And here’s more information on the gas pipeline cyber attack.)

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Do you recognize the gas station of the future?


Do not fill plastic bags with gas

Have you ever seen someone fill a plastic bag with gasoline? It is not safe. In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission warned people on Twitter to only use containers approved for fuel.

Gasoline can melt through some plastics in minutes, and if it gets on your skin, it can cause irritation and even burn. If you inhale the fumes, your lungs can deteriorate over time. If swallowed accidentally, it can affect your vital organs, such as your eyes, and cause burns in the esophagus. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these symptoms.

The safest alternatives for storing your gas include funnel safety canisters, according to the National Agricultural Safety Database. The organization says it is looking for gas cans labeled “Underwriters Laboratories” or “Factory Mutual Approved.”

Don’t buy gasoline and sell it for a higher price

The last thing you want to do during an emergency is to take advantage of others in need – don’t buy gas at the current price and try to sell it. You will have serious problems with the law. Last year, people were arrested for price gouging hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other supplies during the pandemic.


Keeping gasoline in bags can be dangerous.

Alina Bradford / CNET

Do not collect gasoline from your local gas station

Much like cleaning supplies that were swept off the shelves in the early days of the pandemic, many people queue at gas stations to refill and refuel their cars. As we mentioned above, no shortage of gas. Pipelines are resuming and gas prices are likely to return to pre-cyberattack levels soon.

Buying gas now only means you spend more of your money and leave gas stations without fuel. So those who really need the gas – say, to commute to work – continue to panic because they can’t find one.

Here’s what to do instead: be patient. Colonial Pipeline works around the clock to bring the situation back to normal.

What You Should Do Instead

While your local gas station may run out of gas, we have some options for you to consider:

  • Use GasBuddy to find gas stations with fuel.
  • Ask to work from home so you don’t commute.
  • If you have to run errands all day, plan your route so you don’t drive back and forth around town.
  • Drive your most fuel efficient car – take the sedan instead of the truck.
  • If you have a road trip planned, consider rescheduling it.

For more information on what’s going on, here when the service is restarted from the hacked Colonial Pipeline, what will happen to gas prices and how cyber attacks can cut the power in the US.

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