Fuel Shortages Prompt Panic Buying

US gas stations are lined up around the block.

US gas stations are lined up around the block.

Last Friday’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline has had rippling effects on the entire fuel industry, most of all in the eastern United States. While the main avenues of the pipeline remain closed for safety purposes and more burden is placed on the lesser lines, gas stations are beginning to run short of fuel while prices are up to at least $3 a gallon.

These shortages have prompted a wave of panic-buying of gasoline, leading to long lines at gas stations. Those who make it to the front of the line have been spotted filling up multiple gas canisters at once, as well as far more unusual containers like plastic bags. Twitter users have noted that this panic buying echoes the shortages of paper products that occured at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as both Twitter users and government officials have pointed out, this shortage, while intense, likely will not last very long. Colonial has said that they have plans in place to reopen the pipeline in full that will likely go into action within the next week. While prices may remain high depending on how quickly this plan is carried out, the shortage should not last long.

The Biden Administration has advised all US citizens to refrain from hoarding fuel, and to only gas up if genuinely necessary. Panic-buying fuel en masse from stations will only make the problem worse.

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