The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) warned Americans not to fill plastic bags with gasoline amid shortages in some states following the ransomware attack targeting the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline.
“Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline,” the USCPSC wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Use only containers approved for fuel.”
The federal agency also said people need to “follow the gas canister manufacturer instructions for storing and transporting gasoline,” adding that they should “never pour gasoline over or near an open flame.”
“We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly,” said the USCPSC. “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.”
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.
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) May 12, 2021
The USCPSC posted the warning after an unverified video went viral showing a woman putting gas in a plastic bag at a gas station. The video, however, was posted several years ago.
The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit on May 7 with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The attack raised concerns, once again, about the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
“What you’re feeling is not a lack of supply or a supply issue. What we have is a transportation issue,” said Jeanette McGee, spokeswoman for the AAA auto club. “There is ample supply to fuel the United States for the summer, but what we’re having an issue with is getting it to those gas stations because the pipeline is down.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.