USCPSC: ‘Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline’ as panic-buying sweeps the Southeast

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 1:48 PM EDT
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(WBTV) - The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) is reminding gas buyers of a very simple thing that could cause major issues - do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.

The seven-word tweet comes as panic buying of gasoline has swept the Southeast United States amid a temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline due to a cyber attack.

Public figures and elected officials have pleaded with people not to panic with buying or in many cases hoarding gas which could create a fuel shortage.

The USCPSC sent out a number of follow-up tweets within the thread of the original tweet which has more than 8,000 retweets and 30,000 likes.

The commission is reminding people that they should only use containers approved for fuel and follow the gas canister manufacturer instructions for storing and transporting gasoline.

Officials also say when using a gas canister, never pour gasoline over or near an open flame.

“We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly. 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 commission tweeted.

Colonial Pipeline says it hopes to have service mostly restored by the end of the week after halting operations because of a ransomware attack the FBI has linked to a criminal gang.

The ransomware attack on the pipeline, which the company says delivers roughly 45 percent of fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast, raised concerns that supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel could be disrupted in parts of the region if the disruption continues.

At the moment, though, officials said there is no fuel shortage.

According to Patrick De Haan from GasBuddy, the percent of all stations by state without gasoline break down like this as of 11 a.m. Wednesday:

  • North Carolina: 28.2%
  • Georgia: 17.5%
  • Virginia: 17.1%
  • South Carolina: 16.2%
  • Florida: 4.6%
  • Maryland: 4.1%
  • Tennessee: 3.6%
  • West Virginia: 2.8%
  • Alabama: 2.1%
  • Mississippi: 1.7%

The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey, according to the company.

Colonial is in the process of restarting portions of its network. It said Sunday that its main pipeline remained offline, but that some smaller lines were operational. The company has not said when it would completely restart the pipeline.

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