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Local News

November 2, 2012

Gas stations scramble in Sandy's aftermath

(Continued)

NEW YORK (AP) —

Thousands of gas stations in New Jersey and Long Island were closed because of a lack of power. AAA estimates that 60 percent of the stations in New Jersey are shut along with up to 70 percent of the stations in Long Island.

Thursday morning the traffic to a Hess station on 9th Avenue in New York City filled two lanes of the avenue for two city blocks. Four police officers were directing the slow parade of cars into the station.

A few blocks away, a Mobil station sat empty behind orange barricades, with a sign explaining it was out of gas.

Taxi and car service drivers were running dry — and giving up, even though demand for rides was high because of the crippled public transit system. Northside Car Service in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has 250 drivers available on a typical Thursday evening. Today they had just 20. "The gas lines are too long," said Thomas Miranda, an operator at Northside.

Betty Bethea, 59, waited nearly three hours to get to the front of the line at a Gulf station in Newark, but she brought reinforcements: Her kids were there with gas cans, and her husband was behind her in his truck.

Bethea had tried to drive to her job at a northern New Jersey Kohl's store on Thursday morning, only to find her low-fuel light on. She and her husband crisscrossed the region in search of gas and were shooed away by police at every closed station she encountered.

"It is crazy out here — people scrambling everywhere, cutting in front of people. I have never seen New Jersey like this," Bethea said.

But relief appeared to be on the way, even as the lines grew Thursday. The Environmental Protection Agency lifted requirements for low-smog gasoline, allowing deliveries of gasoline from other regions. Tanker trucks sped north from terminals in Baltimore and other points south with fuel.

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