'Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline:' Government warns drivers hoarding fuel
As industry experts and government officials ask drivers in the Southeast not to hoard gasoline, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission makes another plea: "Don't fill plastic bags with gasoline."
"We know this sounds easy, but when people are desperate, they stop thinking clearly," the commission tweeted on Wednesday. "You are taking risks that can be fatal. If you know anyone who is considering bringing a non-fuel container to get gas, please let them know that it is dangerous."
Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) on May 12, 2021
The policy says two-thirds of gas stations in North Carolina and nearly half of gas stations in Georgia and Virginia are out of gas, according to the latest GasBuddy data, and outages are rapidly spreading across the southeast and east coasts. Motorists cruising up and down the Atlantic are defying appeals from experts to stop panic buying and still refuel after the country's largest pipeline shut down after a weekend hack.
Videos and pictures flooded social media this week of people using intangible containers like plastic bags to randomly refill gasoline. A Twitter user shared how, as a teenager, when he ran out of gas, he had to monitor the public at the gas station, where he used the pumps to fill anything that wasn't a vehicle or a proper container - including a mayonnaise jar.
Best practices for handling the highly flammable and potentially hazardous liquid include that Exxon Mobil says that it should "only be stored if absolutely necessary in a suitable container," and preferably in "5 gallons or less" becomes.
Translucent containers such as plastic or glass let in light and break down gas. This underscores the reason why the Commission recommends storing petrol in "fuel only containers" and leaving room in the container for some expansion.
Motorists refuel cans of petrol at a Shell station in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 12, 2021. Fears that the colonial pipeline shutdown due to a cyberattack could lead to a gas shortage sparked panic buying and prompted U.S. regulators on May 11, 2021 to temporarily suspend the need for clean fuel. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)
Storing gasoline or diesel fuel poses a hazard to household members and neighbors. Fuel should be stored in a well-ventilated shed or garage at room temperature, away from any heat sources, with a buffer of at least 50 feet from ignition sources such as pilot lights.
"Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can reach ignition sources via the ground," Exxon Mobil posted on its website.
Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.
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