The Eastern United States is facing gas shortages after a cyberattack shut down the Colonial Pipeline. This pipeline supplies the east coast with more than 45 percent of those states’ fuel. As expected, the public has panicked and has resorted to hoarding.

Is it dangerous to hoard gas?

  • Gasoline is extremely corrosive, and approved gas containers go through rigorous testing and are subject to strict standards. 
  • The EPA revised its rules on what is and isn’t allowedfor gas container manufacturing and sale in 2009, introducing stringent rules on the products.  
  • These rules are introduced so that stored fuel does not corrode the container, spill out onto your garage’s floor, and come close to exposed wiring that could ignite and turn the garage into a fireball. 
  • It has a shelf life: When left unused, it begins to oxidize, degrade, and lose combustibility.
  • Improvised gasoline containers like plastic bags, plastic totes, water tanks, two-liter pop bottles, etc., are all vulnerable to the danger of being corroded by the gasoline itself. If this happens, there can be a  massive spill in the trunk or garage resulting in a fire or explosion.
  • Improvised gasoline containers canl inadvertently lead to spills through process (from filling, carrying, storage and pouring into the vehicle, creating a toxic space wherever the spills occur 
  • It can contaminate the air with harmful chemicals like benzene, toluene, xylene, and hexane bringing down the quality of air not only within the car but also in the neighbourhoods MOST OF WHICH ARE CARCINOGENIC. Studies have shown that leaky home heating tanks, fuel truck spills, even the Hazleton, PA gas spills, result in higher carcinogenic levels.
  • Short-term inhalation of toluene can cause liver and kidney damage while inhaling benzene will cause dizziness, headaches, respiratory tract inhalation and lead to unconsciousness.

Bottom line:

 According to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, “It's not that we have a gasoline shortage, it's that we have this supply crunch, and that things will be back to normal soon.”

Until then, do not hoard gas, and avoid putting gas in unapproved containers.