Possible gas shortage causes concern

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Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo, Reporter

Throughout this month the internet has been flooded with memes which include people filling plastic bags, containers, canisters and pretty much anything you can imagine with gasoline. While many may enjoy the memes and videos, some people are still unaware as to where and why these things are happening. 

On May 7, Colonial Pipeline was hacked and held for ransom by a hacker group known as Darkside. Although many may think this is no big deal, Colonial Pipeline supplies the east coast of the United States with 45% of its fuel. The company carries fuel from Houston all the way to New Jersey. 

“I am not sure about how it’s been happening around here but I did hear that there was some sort of attack on the systems of Colonial Pipeline that connects Texas to New Jersey,” junior Jennifer Rubio said. “So then they had to shut it down and people thought it might cause a shortage around the country.”

With one of the United States biggest pipelines shut down, the demand for gas went up. Many gas stations saw the price of gas increase all the way up to three dollars, something that had not been seen since 2014. 

“I believe it would have been a matter of time before prices themselves went up,” junior Madeline Duncan said. “We saw low prices due to the pandemic because people weren’t traveling and there wasn’t demand for it. Now that people are traveling more, prices have been going up because there is more demand for it. The gas shortage just exacerbated it because there was more demand for less product.”

The Darkside hackers demanded a sum of $4.4 million which to the surprise of many, Colonial Pipeline paid. The transaction was made through Bitcoin. Federal authorities questioned the decision as it is believed that it will encourage more groups to take companies hostage and demand large amounts of money. 

“Gas is obviously important, most of us drive every day and get gas maybe a few times a month,” Rubio said. “I think the way people reacted at first, made it a bigger deal than it actually is.”

Despite the disagreement between the authorities and the company, the CEO Joseph Blount claims that the decision was not an easy one. Blount also claimed that the decision was made in order to do what was best for the country. 

Considering the pipeline is starting back up already, I don’t think it is that big of a deal,” Duncan said. “However, if it would have been shut down longer and people continued to mass buy gas, I think it could have been a much bigger issue.”

The whole issue brings the story back to the people who are continuing to fill up bags, containers and canisters to store gas. It is recommended that people do not do this as it is not safe and also wastes the gas. 

While I haven’t seen it in person, I have seen videos of people putting gas in bags and tubs,” Duncan said. “I think it isn’t a good idea because transferring the gas from a bag to an actually usable container probably wastes more gas than you bought.”

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