Claim:   E-mail from tugboat sailor claims thousands of barges have been left loaded with unsold fuel in order to create shortages and drive up the price of gasoline.


Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2006]

I just think everyone should know… I am a tugboat sailor. The gas shortage is totally bogus. There are “fleets” all up and down the gulf coast that you don’t know about. They consist of hundreds and thousands of tank barges that we tie up daily that are filled with millions of gallons of fuel. The big companies pump their fuel into the barges and as long as the fuel is in a barge it is considered offshore and not part of the reserve. So, there are millions of gallons of fuel tied up to spud barges all through the bays, intracoastal inlets, and canals all up and down the coast that the companies don’t have to report. They fabricate the shortage by pumping their millions of gallons of fuel and hide them in these fleets creating the shortage so they can make their multi billion dollar gains while we can’t afford the gas at the pump. I’ve never in my life asked anyone to forward anything, but this has me fuming. Accidental pun now intended. With many voices, we can put a stop to this.


Origins:   We don’t know the origins of this putative message from a tugboat sailor claiming that oil companies are holding millions of gallons of fuel in barges in order to drive up prices, but we do know that the reasons being offered to explain the current high price of gasoline — higher crude oil prices, lack of refinery capacity, political uncertainty, tighter supplies of the ethanol used in place of MTBE, current and expected increases in demand — don’t include a (manufactured) “fuel shortage” among them.

Last updated:   2 May 2006