On May 10 2021, rumors of an imminent gas shortage spread everywhere, followed immediately by a photograph purportedly showing a couple “stocking up” on gas to get ahead of the situation.
The image was absolutely everywhere, with at least two wildly popular Facebook posts. The same photo was shared to Reddit’s r/pics and r/trashy; the r/pics version included a popular claim that the two were photographed somewhere in Alabama:
Many of the tweets compared the assumed behavior to 2020, when panicked buyers began hoarding toilet paper, leaving supermarket shelves bare despite the fact that there was no shortage:
The discussions included observations that the couple might not be hoarding gas. A comment on a version shared to Imgur suggested that the couple might (even in May 2021 amid rumors of a looming gas shortage) be acquiring gas for farm operations or a generator:
That comment read:
If they live on farmland and have a lot of gas equipment this isn’t that odd. Although gas usually doesn’t stay good super long.
Likewise, a commenter on the r/trashy post replied:
Why is this trashy? They might live off grid and have a generator, tractor, any number of things. Just people living their life. Get a life of your own. Nothing to see here[.]
As rumors of a gas shortage spread across several states on May 10 2021, a photograph sometimes described as a “couple in Alabama stocking up on gas after the news says it could hit $3 a gallon” went viral on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Imgur, and 9Gag. Although we found no specific origin or identifying information about when or where the image was captured, people used it to make a point about the potential effects of hoarding behavior. It is possible that the photograph indeed showed a couple hoarding fuel due to fears of a gas shortage, but some commenters speculated the couple might have purchased it for farm equipment or generators. The photograph was subsequently used across platforms as an example of hoarding behavior, although we are unable to find any citations or corroborating evidence for that claim at this time.