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Gas is golden in Locust Valley

Wednesday afternoon, 25 vehicles snaked in a line on the shoulder of two-lane Forest Avenue in Locust Valley, waiting to buy whatever fuel remained at USA Gas.

"Super only" read one handmade sign, in neon-orange spray paint, that was propped at the pumps. "Cash only" read another. "Super" was going for $4.39 a gallon.

Two employees pumped gas, the station's mechanic directed traffic, and Gurkay Sebat, 19, son of the owner, manned the small convenience store and helped take payments.

Owner Victor Sebat, 52, of New Hyde Park, said he had 500 gallons of "super" left, and expected that to run out in two hours. He had been running the station off generator power since Tuesday, with cash-only payments because credit-card or debit transactions were not possible without power.

He ran out of regular and "plus" -- a regular-super mixture -- Wednesday morning.

Victor Sebat said the gas lines began forming on Monday. "It was like this before the storm, when we still had power," he said.

He noted that many people coming to the station not only were filling their vehicles' tanks, but brought with them multiple fuel canisters to fill for running generators at their homes or small businesses.

Dave Knott, of Oyster Bay, walked quickly into the station's store.

"Do y'all have newspapers?" he asked. Directed to a stand, he bought the last one -- Newsday, which on its cover showed an inundated section of Westhampton with the word "Devastated" in large type.

Knott, who works for an investment firm in Syosset, said his home had no power but was not damaged in the storm.

"I wanted to know what was going on," Knott said of his newspaper purchase.

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