A person in an orange shirt accompanied by another in gray load numerous gas containers into a sedan at a Charlotte, NC gas station.
Motorists fill up gas cans at a Shell station in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 12, 2021. A temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline due to a cyberattack led to panic buying and a boom in black market fuel sales. But storing and containing gasoline incorrectly is extremely dangerous, and purchasing from private resellers ill-advised. (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Buying black market gas is not only dangerous, it’s unnecessary thanks to Colonial Pipeline’s news that the crisis has an end in sight.

Amid a gas shortage spurred by frantic North Carolina motorists, resellers on marketplace and other social and online apps in the state have been advertising gas for as much as $100 a gallon.

It’s clearly illegal. Gasoline is a regulated material, and sellers need to obtain multiple licenses and follow strict environmental regulations about its proper storage and containment.

Nearly 70% of North Carolina gas stations were dry mid-day on Thursday, according to gas and refined oil expert Patrick De Haan.  As early as Monday, private citizens began hoarding gallons and offering inflated prices on the fuel for sale.   

But no matter how low your tank is running, it’s not a good idea to buy from someone posting a Facebook Marketplace ad for fuel. Locations where gasoline is being resold are likely to be unsafe. Gasoline vapors are highly flammable, so if fuel is not properly stored, simple static electricity from the ground can ignite it and cause an inferno. 

Also, unscrupulous dealers can fill a tank with water and top it off with gasoline. It smells right, weighs up correctly and the buyer is none the wiser – until their engine blows. Not only will they have overpaid, they are now in the market for another vehicle. 

Experts advise to just sit tight. Colonial Pipeline announced at 5 pm Wednesday that production had been restarted on the pipeline, and that the company has delivered close to a million barrels to various eastern markets, including Charlotte. 

The expectation is “low availability this week, but North Carolina is a priority market for refueling,” AAA spokeswoman Tiffany Wright told Cardinal & Pine in an email.