Gasoline misery persists for LI drivers
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There was more gasoline misery Wednesday for Long Island motorists.
Ten days after superstorm Sandy, a nor'easter added to the high anxiety over gas supplies. Once again, stations that were open had long lines.
The AAA estimated that 60 percent to 65 percent of Long Island gas stations were selling fuel Wednesday, the same percentage as the day before. The motorist group bases its number on a daily sampling of stations.
Spokesman Michael Green said AAA had anecdotal reports of motorists topping off tanks unnecessarily, worsening the shortages.
"We're urging people to fill up with gasoline only if they actually need it," he said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday that an odd-even gas rationing system, similar to that adopted by New Jersey, was under consideration. "We've done that before in this state," he said. "There are a number of options you can consider, we don't think we need -- we haven't had to exercise any of them yet, but we'll see what happens."
But there was no further word on the subject from the governor's office Wednesday.
Wednesday, the new storm prevented petroleum-bearing barges from moving for safety reasons, an executive at Northville Industries said. But the executive, who declined to be quoted by name, said his company's Holtsville terminal, one of the Island's major distribution points for fuels, was well stocked, and that he expected no shortage there.
"We got enough barges in before the storm, and we're loading some in New York Harbor during the storm that will hopefully get out to Port Jefferson right after the storm," he said. From Port Jefferson, fuels are piped inland to Holtsville. The nor'easter is expected to move out this afternoon.
One issue affecting Long Island, the executive said, was that with many large terminals in New Jersey still inoperable, major oil companies with contracts to fill up at Holtsville have been taking many more loads than usual to Brooklyn and Queens, leaving less for stations on Long Island, which normally account for most of the terminal's demand. The practice has occurred for several days, and "I'm still struggling with people taking product to locations not typically supplied by our terminal," he said.
Another continuing issue, cited by companies operating tanker trucks: They have long waits at the terminals and then frequently have to wait again to unload tankers at gasoline stations clogged with cars.
Meanwhile, prices continued to rise. Regular gasoline averaged $4.096 a gallon on Long Island Wednesday, the AAA said, up 2.8 cents from the day before and 19.5 cents from a week earlier.