EXPERTS SAY: Panic buying created the gas shortage in NCFL

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Economists are saying there would’ve been enough gas for another two weeks to fit the usual demand, but panic buying has taken the reins and has left many gas stations empty, or close to it.

“Panic buying exacerbates shortages, and in some cases, like this one, it seems like it’s overwhelmingly responsible for what’s happening,” Dr. Thomas Knight, Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Florida said.

Even areas like North Central Florida that do not receive gas from the Colonial Pipeline are experiencing mass shortages. Photos on the internet show customers filling canister after canister, and officials are advising against it.

Dr. Knight said it’s comparable to other shortages in the past, but there are also stark differences.

Related Story: Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

“Now the difference between this and the toilet paper shortage about a year ago and panic buying gasoline before a hurricane is that those are real disruptions to the supply chain that will have immediate impacts on consumers. Shutting down a pipeline if you have sufficient storage at the end of the pipeline or along the pipeline won’t immediately have any noticeable effect for consumers,” Dr. Knight said.

Local officials across the area are urging motorists to fill up only when they need to, as another large shipment of gas is expected in North Central Florida by the end of the week.

Alachua County Emergency Management said, “We encourage all residents to maintain their normal routine and get gas when they normally would. We do not recommend hoarding gas or filling up extra gasoline canisters in response to this pipeline incident.”

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