Consumer safety officials are warning not to fill plastic bags with gasoline as residents in the Southeast U.S. scramble to acquire fuel.
Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) May 12, 2021
The 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.
Since the cyber-attack, some Americans have been panic-buying, with vehicles lined up at gas stations in several parts of the country.
The increased demand for gas likely also contributed to a recent hike in prices, along with the increase in travel as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. The national average price for a gallon of gas ticked above $3 on Wednesday for the first time since 2016.
Amid the chaos, 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.”