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Video shows a woman filling plastic bags with gas in 2019, not 2021

May 12, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows a woman filling a white plastic bag with gas at a Kroger station due to gas shortages in the Southeast U.S.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video being shared online is from 2019 and is not related to recent reports of panic-buying related to a shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing an old video of a woman filling a plastic bag with gasoline to falsely claim it shows people panic-buying gasoline.

One Twitter upload of the video received nearly 2 million views on Wednesday with the hashtag #gasshortage.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast U.S. were running out of fuel due to panic-buying following a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. The pipeline, which is biggest in the U.S., was shut down on Friday after a ransomware attack. The majority of the pipeline resumed manual operations Monday with full operation expected later in the week.

The more than minute-long clip first surfaced online in 2019. The video was taken in Houston, Texas, at the Kroger supermarket service station. In the video, the woman can be seen trying to tie a plastic bag sloshing with gasoline.

I just wanna know why..... why the bags and not a gas tank? This is dangerous #GasShortage,” stated a Facebook post sharing the video on Tuesday.

Aside from the video, social media users on Tuesday shared a photo of a car trunk packed with plastic garbage bags filled with gasoline. A reverse search of the photo revealed that it was tied to 2019 reports in Huauchinango, Mexico, where federal police found the gas during their patrols.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission addressed the issue on Wednesday in a Twitter thread.

“Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline,” the agency tweeted. “Use only containers approved for fuel.”

Colonial said it’s likely to restore service on the majority of its pipeline by Friday.

There’s no imminent shortfall, and thus no need to panic buy gasoline, said Richard Joswick, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global Platts.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536