Within hours of a video released by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in which she urged Floridians not to panic, form long lines and hoard gas, Floridians panicked, began forming long lines and started hoarding gas. Fried filmed the video at a gas station on Centerville Road in Tallahassee and posted it to Twitter around the time thousands of people started to head home from work yesterday afternoon, passing long lines forming at gas stations along the way.
Fried did little to assuage concerns in the video, essentially confirming rumors that the Colonial Pipeline shutdown would lead to severe gasoline shortages in Florida.
“You’ve probably heard about gas shortages affecting parts of our state, especially here in North Florida,” Fried said in the video. “This is due to several factors, like the recent cyberattack on a major pipeline and a shortage of truck drivers for fuel trucks.”
Fried then attempted to reassure constituents that she was in “close contact with federal and state agencies and the petroleum industry on this situation,” then closed the video by urging people not to panic, not to hoard gas, and not to form long lines at gas stations.
Long lines at gas stations formed almost immediately after Fried’s video was released.
By late Monday, most gas stations up and down Thomasville Road ran completely out of fuel, forcing drivers to expand their search to stations further from residential areas. Lines formed at stations along Mahan Drive, Crump Road, and Capital Circle near Southwood, rapidly depleting supplies there, too.
The same station on Centerville Road where Fried filmed the video ran out of premium and mid-grade gasoline Monday evening, but still had regular gas for sale through closing time. However, the station shut off its pump at 9pm, leaving hopeful motorists without many options. Some had used their remaining gas to get there, but the store refused to reopen until Tuesday morning.
By 7am at the same station, the long lines had again formed, with motorists desperate for a few gallons of fuel to get to work or take their kids to school.
Here’s the full video from Fried:
❌Don’t panic-buy gas
❌Don’t hoard gas
❌Don’t form long gas station lines
✅Call 800-HELP-FLA if questions pic.twitter.com/KMWWh3BgCq
— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) May 10, 2021