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Long Lines And Short Tempers Persist At Gas Stations As Fuel Shortage Continues

Gas Station Line

Lines at gas stations were going nowhere Sunday. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork/AP) –Officials said Sunday night that more gas was being delivered, but everyone can expect shortages for some time to come.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, it has reached the point where Americans have been living in their cars for days on end, just in case a gas station – any gas station – received a delivery.

“I arrived here 4 o’clock yesterday — 4 o’clock Saturday morning,” said John Ganci of Bayside, Queens.

Ganci was on empty after betting a Hess station on Northern Boulevard in Great Neck might be able to fill his vehicle up.

“We have a lot of politicians that right now are giving us a lot of lip service,” he said.

Where there was gas remained a nearly unanswerable question almost a week after Sandy struck – even though elected officials made pronouncements about tankers arriving and refineries getting back online.

Keron Ingram and his friend were lucky they brought their gas can. They began their wait at 5 a.m. Saturday.

“Someone told us about the Shell station down the block. so we went down there and brought gas right back here,” Ingram said.

That Shell station quickly ran out of gas too. At the Hess station, the grim vigil dragged on and on, interrupted only by an odd rumor about a gas delivery.

The gas station attendant there, who declined to talk on camera, did not know what was going on either. He had no idea when the gasoline delivery was coming.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more gas was coming to the region, but added that officials expected supplies to remain short for days. A precious few preached calm.

“We as people have to have patience,” one customer said. “We have to have patience.”

But as some began their second night in line Sunday night, there was no great anger – just exhaustion.

1010 WINS reporter Carol D’Auria spoke with customers on line at a Long Island gas station…


In Long Island Sunday afternoon, some customers were waiting less than patiently for their gas.

“There should be gas here and we shouldn’t be waiting on lines at two in the morning,” Joe from Island Park told 1010 WINS reporter Carol D’Auria.

Others were a little bit more understanding.

“The trucks are going to get here, it’s just a matter of time,” said a patient customer named Ralph.

Long lines had also formed at Department of Defense mobile fuel stations set up in the city and on Long Island. The government was asking civilian customers to stay away from those locations until emergency responders had filled up on gas.

Over in New Jersey it was more of the same, where lines at gas stations wrapped around blocks and extended up and down highways.

Gov. Chris Christie implemented a 1970s-style gas rationing system that appeared to shorten some lines, although it may have also resulted in confusion at some stations. Governor Christie insisted that the problem was not a shortage of gas , but rather an inability to get the necessary gas distributed on time.

The rule allows drivers with license plates ending in even numbers to fill up on even days and drivers with odd plates to fill up on odd days.

1010 WINS Reporter Steve Sandberg spoke with gas customers in New Jersey…


Some motorists and police officers did not understand how the system worked, and some gas stations were ignoring it entirely, according to some reports.

Some New Jersey gas customers were less than pleased with the system.

“Supposedly this happened previous to my birth, and [expletive] then and it stinks now,” a customer named Nicole told 1010 WINS reporter Steve Sandberg.

By Saturday afternoon, 30 percent of gas stations in Northern New Jersey were open, compared to 95 percent of stations that were open south of Trenton.

How bad was your gas wait? Let us know in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)