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  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

How to Stay Safe in a Gas Shortage

What to do in a Gas Shortage

A ransomware attack caused the Colonial Pipeline to shut down a few days ago. This is causing a problem as the pipeline recovers and gets back to work supplying gas. In the meantime, this one ransomware attack has caused bigger problems for society as a whole.

Today I had to go to three gas stations to fill up. One station was sold out, the other had lines of cars blocking the road. Now I had gas, I just wanted more to outlast the panic spike I was seeing in the southeast. (Maybe I contributed to the problem.)

Basic Dude Stuff

Let’s remember what our friend Pat Mac says if our car is in the driveway it should have at least three-quarters of a tank. Basic dude stuff. That thinking looks pretty smart right now, doesn’t it?

Since the ransomware attack, several states have seen a spike in demand. This is because people want gas to be able to go to work, pick up their kids from school and go to the grocery store. This is panic buying just like we saw with toilet paper.

The difference here is that gasoline means mobility. Mobility means providing for your family. So this is a big deal to families and needs to be taken seriously.

Now I’ve been through gas spikes before, but after COVID I think people are going to be extra crazy. Because we’ve learned that people aren’t that calm and don’t plan ahead. And those people are causing problems for the rest of us.

Right now we’re seeing spikes in demand and outages in the southeast. But I think this will spread just because this is a breaking story and we all still have nightmares about toilet paper. So don’t expect this to go away in the next 48 hours.

Tension at the Pump

When I got gas, there was a tension in the air. Everyone was trying to get into the gas station, find the shortest line, and gas up as quickly as they could. People were ready to cut people off and do what they could to make sure they got what they needed. This is humans being humans.

This means that gas stations are going to be hot spots for crime now. As Brian Marren of Arcadia Cognerati told us, he feels gas stations are some of the most dangerous places on Earth and he’s a Marine sniper!

So we have existing problems with gas stations as being locations that often attract crime and now we’re going to… wait for it… add fuel to the fire… by bringing in panic and anxiety to these locations. That’s not a good combination.

Don’t be an Easy Target

When you go to the gas station keep your head on a swivel and be polite. Don’t be the spark that starts the fire. Use all of those de-escalation skills you have to keep the peace and stay left of bang.

When I was waiting in line, I saw an older woman pumping gas into her Range Rover and she was clutching her purse under her arm. She looked like the perfect easy target for a criminal.

She was anxious, confused, and showing everyone where she kept her valuables. Don’t be like this lady because I’m not sure anyone would have gotten out of their car to help her if she got into trouble.

I’ve seen images online of people filling up gas cans and stacking them into their vehicles in Georgia. Unless you absolutely need that, don’t do it. When I saw this picture, it made me mad because it looked like these people were hoarding gas.

Photo Credit: @BarelyTactical - Instagram

In the already growing tensions of the United States, don’t make yourself a target of an angry crowd at a gas station. You don’t need to fight off six people while they steal your gas cans. Get what you need and nothing more.

Less Gas, More Crime

If this gas shortage, or any future shortage, continues for a week or more, it will affect emergency vehicles. With less gas for patrol cars police might reduce the number of cars on the road leading to a decreased police presence and a potential uptick in crime. Now is a great time to secure your home and property to deter crime.

The same goes for fire and EMS. Their vehicles will be affected by a gas shortage, too. If a large-scale riot… I mean protest... set fire to a southeastern downtown area, it’s going to be very problematic to solve that situation and recover from it to keep the peace. These changes in society will have ripple effects across the landscape.

We’ve seen that one ransomware attack has now caused problems for millions of people across several states. Do you think hackers and foreign governments are watching this? Yes, they are. As a theory, this might have been a plan to see how the US responds to a gas shortage.

If you live outside of the southeast, you might not be greatly affected by this particular shortage. But there may be another one coming soon, so don’t ignore this situation.

For now, take it easy and chill at home for a few days limiting where you go to essential places only. We’ve been at home more anyway, so this shouldn’t be too big of a sacrifice. Let’s stay calm and protect our loved ones.


Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.


Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

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