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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke May 13, 2021

No, this isn’t a photo of South Carolinians who filled plastic bags with gas

If Your Time is short

  • A photo of plastic bags filled with gas is from a 2019 arrest in Mexico, not the United States in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

Social media posts about the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline are swinging between fears of gasoline shortages and derision from some people scornful of folks hurrying to the gas station to stock up. 

"Plastic bags filled with gas by morons in South Carolina," reads the description of one image that’s being spread on social media. It’s a photo of a car trunk filled with several plastic bags holding liquid.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently advised Americans to "not fill plastic bags with gasoline," but this photo is not an example of it happening stateside in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline disruption. 

The photo has been online for more than two years. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

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A reverse image search leads to a couple of Mexican publications.

In March 2019, reported that police had detained the drivers of two vehicles that were transporting more than 1,000 liters of gasoline in plastic bags in Huauchinango, Mexico.

A caption of the photo — translated by Google from Spanish to English — says it shows "a thousand liters of fuel in plastic bags."

The next day, Aristegui Noticias published the photo with a story about two people who had been arrested after they tried to carry "more than a thousand liters of illegal gasoline in the trunk of their cars." 

The photo wasn’t taken in South Carolina, so we rate this post False.

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No, this isn’t a photo of South Carolinians who filled plastic bags with gas

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