Drivers have been waiting for hours for gas at stations across Long Island after Hurricane Sandy cut off fuel supplies, increased demand and forced some stations that are without power to remain closed for days after the superstorm.
Officials said the gas crisis will be relieved now that the Port of New York and New Jersey has been reopened. In the meantime, lines 25 deep have been reported at some gas stations on Thursday morning.
“Gasoline is critical to the health and well being of those impacted by the storm,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said, noting that many homes are now dependent on generators for power. “The port is open, the backlogged barges can begin to dock and gas and will begin to flow into New York again.”
Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Islip) urged the Long Island Power Authority to prioritize gas stations while restoring electricity to the more than 660,000 homes and businesses still blacked out as of 3 p.m. Thursday. More than 90 percent of LI was blacked out after the storm.
Katie Leggio of Baldwin told The Associated Press that she’s running out of patience amid the “madness.” Police have been standing watch at some gas stations to keep the peace.
Although a comprehensive list of all LI gas stations open for business was not immediately available, www.longislandgasprices.com has been still updating the cheapest and most expensive gas on the Island, which is a good sign those stations are open.
“It’s like Armageddon to be honest,” said Farmingdale-resident Chris Tarello, waiting on line for gas at US Petroleum in Amityville. “I didn’t think [Sandy] would be much, now they’re saying it could be another 10 days with no power. That’s okay, but this gas situation is very surprising to me.”
“I’ve been waiting here for an hour, which is not so bad as other gas stations,” said 29-year-old Adam Carpentieri, of Massapequa. “I passed a few, most of them surrounded by yellow tape and closed. I was on the Belt Parkway an hour ago and it was backed up by 100 cars and so this is actually pretty tame and I’m actually glad they are pumping.”
A gas station owner at the US Petroleum in Amityville said he was pumping 800 gallons of gasoline in only 45 minutes. By Thursday afternoon, he only had 7,000 gallons left.
“We lost power for three days and got it back last night,” said the owner. “We filled up before the storm and started selling what we had.”
-With Dan O’Regan and Kathy Kim