I can stretch my truck 3 maybe 4 weeks if I only commute in it, but my wife drives enough during the week between her part time teaching job and getting the kids to school/sports/etc. that she has to fill her car basically twice a week (or sometimes she doesnt and I get in it to run errands Saturday morning and the light is on and I barely make it to the station down the road). So even though something like this current manufactured shortage is only temporary, if it happens when she's in between fill ups then there is a limited amount of time it can go on for before it becomes a real inconvenience.Why would they need that much gas?
I keep a handful of Jerry cans in the garage that I rotate with fresh gas every couple of months for exactly this kind of thing, but even that only would get us into the next week even if we cut out any unnecessary driving, maybe two weeks if I work from home (assuming the shortage hits right after both cars have been filled). Short of complete collapse of society the kids still need to go to school, me and the wife need to go to work, a lot of people need gas to get around for necessary purposes, so you cant just "stop driving". What about small business owners? Delivery drivers? Landscaping companies? Those people probably have to fill up multiple times a week as well; not all of those places have a massive storage tank on site and even if they did, if an interruption/panic lasts more than a week it doesn't matter.
People hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic because all we saw for months leading up to it was horror stories from the news of people being forcibly locked indoors and having to **** in buckets and wipe with whatever they had on hand. A reasonable person would realize that level of lockdown wasnt even remotely possible in the US, but theres always the "what if" factor.
Its easy to look at a picture of two boomers stashing gas cans in the back of their $80k fullsize SUV and condescend, but without context you dont know what they "needed" that gas for. Even if it's just panic due to being unprepared, in the real world the ONLY difference between someone like that (living day to day with no preparedness) and someone who has invested time and money into "prepping" but yet doesnt have a reliable way of getting fresh water or even something as simple and overlooked as vegetables/fruit is only about 2 weeks of additional survival time before you are in the same boat.
Lots of lessons to be learned in little events like this if we are willing to actually pay attention.