As residents up and down the East Coast scramble to find gasoline, social media has been littered with alleged pictures and videos of customers using anything and everything to hold gas. It got to the point Wednesday that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found it necessary to use social media to warn people not to use plastic bags to store gasoline.
Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) May 12, 2021
The current run on gas comes as the Colonial Pipeline remains shut down. The company, the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, fell victim to a cybersecurity attack involving ransomware on Friday. It delivers about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast.
The shutdown of the pipeline has prompted panic-buying and attempted hoarding across areas in the Southeast. The surge in demand prompted long lines at the pump and some areas even running out of gasoline. The increase in demand and massive cut in supply, along with other issues have contributed to a recent hike in prices that could get worse. The national average price for a gallon of gas ticked above $3 on Wednesday for the first time since 2016.
Amid the chaos and panic, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took to Twitter with some seemingly obvious tips. The CPSC said not to fill plastic bags with gasoline and to only store gas in containers that are approved for fuel.
“Follow the gas canister manufacturer instructions for storing and transporting gasoline,” wrote the CPSC in one tweet.
The agency also said to never pour gas over or near an open flame when using a gas canister.
“Flame jetting is a sudden and possibly violent flash fire that can occur when pouring flammable liquids from a container over an exposed flame or other ignition source,” said the CPSC. “Never pour flammable liquids from a container over an exposed flame.”
The agency said these tips may sound simple, but people can stop thinking clearly when they get desperate.
“They take risks that can have deadly consequences,” wrote the CPSC. “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.”