© Reuters. A couple fills up multiple 5 gallon gas tanks at a Wawa gas station, after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Tampa, Florida, U.S., May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

By Chris Sanders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday warned Americans to not fill plastic bags with gasoline as fuel shortages worsened on the sixth day of a pipeline outage and consumers raced to secure supplies.

“Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline” the agency said on Twitter, followed by “Use only containers approved for fuel.”

A ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last week halted 2.5 million barrels per day of fuel shipments. On Wednesday, fuel shortages worsened in the southeastern United States, as gasoline stations ran out of supply in some cities.

The supply crunch and panic buying have brought long lines and high prices at the pump ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of this month, which traditionally marks the start of the peak summer driving season.

Getting consumers to think more carefully was an important theme for the agency, which also tweeted an acknowledgement that “when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly.” The agency asked consumers to tell people using a container not meant for fuel: “please let them know it’s dangerous.”

The agency stressed that it does not mean to talk down to consumers.

“Sometimes when we put out a safety message like this people use it as a way to look down on others. We ask that instead you use this as an opportunity to reflect on safety in your own life,” it said in another tweet.

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