Anyone with a smart phone and a social media account is bound to be asking themselves this week’s big question: is gasoline the new toilet paper? 

As the memes and photos of people filling trunk loads of gas containers with fuel continue to circulate Facebook and Instagram, many of us feel a sense of déjà vu. Remember toilet paper flying off the shelves about this time last year? Videos of fights breaking out in grocery stores surfaced all over the web and signs went up in the TP aisle: “limit one per customer.” 

Since Monday, gasoline has been in high demand, especially in the southeastern U.S. This shift in consumerism comes after the ransomware attack at Colonial Pipeline, which moves fuel throughout the southeast from Texas to New York. Following a brief shutdown, people began panic buying, prompting long lines, and even a few outages, at gas stations. By Tuesday, Colonial Pipeline officials reported that they are bringing the system back up in increments, and should be fully operational by the weekend.

Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted Tuesday: hold onto your hats and your common sense. She told us there is no shortage of gas in Alabama, and if we all remain calm and continue to purchase fuel as we normally would—topping off our tanks as needed—major issues are less likely to arise. 

So, resist the urge to go out and buy as many ten-gallon gas jugs as you can get your hands on. Those who contribute to the panic are only driving up demand and exhausting supply.

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