Fuel Shortages Cause Disruption in Wake of Hurricane Sandy
Throughout the New York City area, would-be drivers are finding themselves without gasoline as the city and region struggles to get its infrastructure back online and reconnect with the outside world following the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. (See more: Gas Prices Continue to Fall in the Aftermath of Sandy)
Ironically, the problem faced by commuters looking to fill up isn’t a shortage of gas itself, but rather a lack of electricity to stations, rendering them unable to pump gas from underground tanks. According to a report issued by AAA, more than 60 percent of stations in New Jersey and more than 70 percent of those in hard-hit Long Island are now closed, forcing those searching for fuel to descend on the few stations still able to deliver their product.
Lack of Electricity
With 13 of the region’s 34 fuel terminals — the depots that hold fuel in queue for retail stations — currently offline, city officials are scrambling to restore electricity before the few operating outlets are overwhelmed by demand.
“In order to pump the gas, you need electricity. In order to run the cash register or to run the credit card system from the pump to the credit card company, you need electricity,” said John Hofmeister, founder and chief executive officer of Citizens for Affordable Energy and the former president of Shell Oil. “So if you don’t have electricity at the depots, which fill the delivery trucks, or if you don’t have electricity at a retail station, then you really can’t sell gasoline to the public.” (See more: Why Sandy’s Impact Will Differ From Katrina)
As people continue to scramble to obtain fuel, particularly for home generators as temperatures drop and electricity remains offline, officials are ordering stations that are online to ration gas appropriately, ensuring that everyone in need has the opportunity to purchase at least a small amount as the wait for restoration of city services continues.
A statement from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued this morning indicates that the vast majority of the area’s residents should see power restored by the end of the day tomorrow.