The Recent Gas Shortage and The Reason Behind It

Gas: it’s a thing we all use. It’s essential to many everyday objects, some as big as certain airplanes and others as small as a lawnmower. What do we do when the gas goes missing? Since 2020, we have had many shortages, all resulting in the same way. The item becomes in short supply; then everyone freaks out and does a mad dash to procure the item that is in shortage. Join me as we take a look at how the recent gas shortage was started.

To understand how a shortage works, it may be a good idea to take a step back and look at how we originally got the item. The gas industry is like a well-oiled machine, with many moving parts that somehow all work together. When gas leaves the refiners, it travels through many different storage wells and pipelines to eventually end up in a tanker or barge storage space. Once the individual tanker bins are loaded onto a semi-truck, the truck will sometimes drive hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to get to its destination. The final step happens when the gas is dispersed in a gas station, and you as a consumer buy the gas to use for your own transportation. All of these steps are crucial to keeping the petroleum business afloat and to keep consumers satisfied.

When an issue occurs in such a well oiled machine, it will deteriorate into a state of panic. There are many rumors surrounding the recent shortage of gas. While it may be easy to listen to said rumors, it’s important to do your own research. The recent gas shortage was due to non-other than a ransomware attack. The major pipeline that controls gas for the East Coast was in a way taken hostage. The ransomware was in control of gas distribution, in turn curbing the amount of gas one has access to. While this definitely put a toll on gas consumers of the East Coast, what if those same consumers were the ones that heightened the shortage. We have seen in the past, especially with toilet paper and hand sanitizers, when panicked people tend to over buy on items they don’t need. It only takes a couple of people to overbuy and start a chain reaction of panicked citizens. This results in a shortage that progresses faster and may be more detrimental to the producer.

Given these points, the petroleum business is currently an essential part of our everyday lives. Gas controls where we go, what we do, where we work, and in some ways with whom we hang out. Having a gas shortage is just another one of the many adventures we’ve been through in 2020-2021.

References:
https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/where-our-gasoline-comes-from.php#:~:text=Most%20gasoline%20moves%20from%20refineries%20through%20pipelines%20to,then%20delivered%20by%20truck%20to%20gasoline%20fueling%20stations.
https://ftw.usatoday.com/lists/gas-shortage-colonial-pipeline-explained

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