On May 11, 2021, the New York Times reported

Colonial Pipeline, a vital U.S. fuel artery that was shut down by a cyberattack, said it hoped to restore most operations by the end of the week. Since the shutdown, there have been no long lines or major price hikes for gas.


Is the NY Times' claim correct?

  • Are you asking just about the lines or price hikes as well?
    – Joe W
    May 14, 2021 at 21:03
  • 2
    But the tweet links to their article that basically says there were both long lines and price hikes (though it didn't happen everywhere).
    – Laurel
    May 14, 2021 at 21:14
  • @JoeW Both. I'll add the second part to the title. May 14, 2021 at 21:15
  • Just to clarify, why do you say 'eastern' US in the title? The tweet doesn't specify a region, and the linked article mainly seems to talk about shortages in southern states.
    – Giter
    May 14, 2021 at 23:09
  • 1
    I know this sounds really weird when talking about the New York Times, but I would argue that this isn't notable. Does anyone believe it? It looks more like a typo than a serious claim, given it is immediately contradicted by the article.
    – Oddthinking
    May 15, 2021 at 11:55

2 Answers 2


The article from the tweet you linked claims that both long lines and gas price increases occurred. I would guess either the tweet is a typo or it is click bait to get you to go to the article.


In the meantime, drivers in Tennessee, Georgia and elsewhere have been panic-buying gasoline, exacerbating shortages with their fears. The price of gas has shot up in several states. Motorists have been yelling at one another to move out of the way as they hog pumps to fill up multiple gas cans to hoard.

  • 4
    Another possible explanation for the article/tweet discrepancy: earlier versions of the article (published the the day before the tweet) seemed to be more focused on supply/shortages in the Northeast, and updates to the article after the tweet added the info about shortages in the South.
    – Giter
    May 14, 2021 at 23:02
  • @Giter That seems like something that could be easily fixed by deleting the incorrect tweet and putting out a corrected version.
    – Joe W
    May 15, 2021 at 20:53
  • 1
    @JoeW only if the tweet poster notices the update May 15, 2021 at 23:14


Comments about the article made me revisit this.

The text in the tweet (at least about long lines) did appear in the original New York Times article on May 10.

Since the pipeline shutdown, there have been no long lines at gasoline stations


But from Internet Archive records, it appears that the New York Times made a silent retraction of that statement on May 11 sometime between 3:20am and 5:50am GMT, with further edits later.

The retraction, plus the current version of the article is sufficient to show that both "no long lines" and "no price hikes" claims are false.

The price of gas has shot up in several states. Motorists have been yelling at one another to move out of the way as they hog pumps to fill up multiple gas cans to hoard.


The @nytimes tweet is simply detritus of the earlier false (or at least immediately outdated) reporting.

  • 2
    Logically, retraction of a claim isn't sufficient to show the claim is false. At best it shows that the claimant was no longer confident that it was true. Claims may also be retracted for reasons unrelated to the claimant's belief in their truth, e.g. if the claim got them unwanted attention. May 16, 2021 at 3:02
  • 2
    @NateEldredge, that's true, though the source not only retracted the claim, it stated the exact opposite. I suppose it'd be good to quote a second, less capricious, source to get the real answer. May 16, 2021 at 15:44

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