As authorities are still assessing the damages, people in New York City and New Jersey are facing another problem. Hurricane Sandy caused a gas shortage, as most service stations have already shut down since there is no gas to sell.
A gas shortage was an expected side-effect of a Frankenstorm good for the history books. Downtown New York City went underwater, whereas New Jersey shores completely disappeared in the flood. With 6 million people nationwide still without electricity, people need gas to refuel their cars and power generators.
Wednesday, Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Associations, was concerned that “With the kind of demand [gas stations] are seeing, they’re likely to run out of gasoline within the next 24 hours”.
In New Jersey the quest for gas took drivers on a journey that at times was hours long. While many looked for a gas station with electricity and gasoline to sell, many others kept in line for as much as two hours. The quest for gasoline jammed the traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel, the entry point from New Jersey into New York City that escaped without damage during Hurricane Sandy.
Mayor Bloomberg tried to contain a situation that could easily spell chaos and asked drivers to have a minimum of three people in their cars or they’ll be turned away. That checkpoint only made things worse as the line to enter the tunnel was as long as a mile.
Governor Chris Christie announced today that gas stations and other fuel merchants can go buy gasoline from other states. In the meanwhile, the federal government is sending 500,000 gallons of diesel to address the gas shortage. 100 power generators will be sent to ensure basic government services will function. In New Jersey alone there are 2.2 million homes and business without electricity according to data from utility companies.
But gas shortage is looming. The Coast Guard confirmed earlier this week for ABC that an oil facility spilled oil into the New York City harbor. The storm damaged the storage tanks and is likely other facilities are dealing with the same problem. Even the gas lines near Seaside Heights, Ortley and Ortley Beach might have been damaged as residents reported hearing hissing noises from the main gas line.