Someone once created a toilet paper shortage by telling folks there was a shortage when there wasn't. People are really paranoid these days, especially when it comes to our favorite hobby/sport, guns and shooting.
That was in about 1973. I worked as a sacker in a Skaggs/Albertsons at the time. That was just after the "sugar Shortage" that had just went away. People were buying suger by the grocery cart full because they thought they would never be able to buy sugar again. And the rumor was that there was a glut of sugar about to spoil. So a shortage was created. And people fell for it. Just so you know the toilet paper shortage was a bust. People can wipe their butts on lots of stuff besides TP. But you can't make a cake without sugar.
I heard the same thing about the gas shortage of 1978. Their were tankers of oil sitting in the gulf and the oil price was too low. So dream up a gas shortage and ration gas.