Could we see another situation like the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy where most gas stations were closed due to power outages and customers were forced to drive miles and stand in long lines to fill up?
Hurricane Joaquin at presstime had increased in strength to a Category 3 hurricane and was heading North and expected to arrive off the coast of the mid-Atlantic states Sunday before making landfall in New Jersey late Monday.
Will New Jersey convenience stores be ready?
NJ.com reported that after Superstorm Sandy most New Jerseyans were forced to drive for miles and wait in long lines to fill up their gas tanks because power outages closed many local gas stations.
“We’re all nervous because of what happened from Sandy,” Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association, an industry group representing the state’s gas stations, told NJ.com.
Gov. Chris Christie had announced back in 2013 that gas stations would be eligible for up to $7 million in federal funding to buy generators to keep pumping gas if they lost power during a storm, but few local gas stations have actually made it through the application process, Risalvato said.
State officials told NJ.com that more than 60 gas stations had been approved earlier this year for $3 million in grants to install generators. Another 86 applicants were waiting for approval.
Last year, the U.S. Energy Department said it was building a reserve of a million barrels of gasoline in the New York Harbor area and the Boston area in order to prevent another fuel emergency like the one we saw following Superstorm Sandy. However, actually transporting that emergency fuel to local gas stations could still prove problematic in the aftermath of a major storm.