A video and still image of people filling plastic bags with gasoline have been shared countless time over the past few days as supposed proof of the fuel shortage panic buying sparked by the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. According to Snopes (and a quick check of the date on that original YouTube video), both the still image and the video are from 2019.
The photo of plastic bags filled with gasoline in the trunk of a car is from a March 2019 incident in which two men attempted to steal gasoline from a gas station in central Mexico. The video was captured in December 2019 and claims to show a woman at a Kroger here in Houston pumping gas into a large plastic bag.
The spread of these two prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) to put out social media posts warning people to "use only containers approved for fuel" and specially not to fill plastic bags with gasoline.
The fact that neither of these pieces of viral content were "real" in relation to our current fuel situation doesn't mean that some people aren't panic buying and hoarding gas. Worries about a potential fuel shortage led to long lines at the pump in some areas and reported increases in demand as high as 32% on the East Coast.
Photo: Getty Images