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Editorial: Provide tax credits for gas station generators

Readers respond to fuel shortages following superstorm Sandy.

Readers respond to fuel shortages following superstorm Sandy. Credit: Getty Images, 2010

One of the most widely felt impacts of superstorm Sandy was the gasoline shortage. Power outages kept stations from pumping what they already had, and for several days, supplies from elsewhere were limited. So we all lined up to buy gasoline.

Now there's a push to require stations to install on-site generators at a cost of $20,000 to $40,000, or to be wired for portable gas-powered generators, which runs $5,000 to $12,000. The Town of Hempstead passed a law last week requiring stations that pump more than 100,000 gallons a month to install standby generators. Farmingdale, Rockville Centre and Lynbrook are considering similar measures, as are county legislators and state lawmakers.

These are sensible requirements, particularly for new stations where owners know the cost before building. For existing stations, though, there should be a significant tax credit to cover the cost. If we impose this large expense on existing businesses to protect the public interest, the public needs to help foot the bill.