Gas Crisis: Shortages Continue in Sandy-Ravaged Areas

Associations, including AAA, are playing a key role in keeping consumers and station owners informed as northeastern states deal with continuing gas shortages.

More than a week after Hurricane Sandy, the Northeast is still slowly trying to recover. One significant trouble spot is the ongoing shortage of gasoline: The fuel industry isn’t expected to be back up to full speed for weeks in New York and New Jersey.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded an optimistic note at a news conference yesterday. “The general sense is it is getting somewhat better,” Cuomo said of Long Island’s gas situation, according to Newsday. “Not greatly better, not getting better that fast, but it’s been getting better.”

But is it? Here’s a breakdown of the current situation:

By the end of this week we still won’t be back to normal, but the situation should at least be manageable.

The progress made: The American Automobile Association (AAA) says 60 percent to 65 percent of gas stations were open in New York as of Monday. But in New Jersey, that number was lower, with only 55 percent to 60 percent open. In an unusual step, gas station chain Hess has posted up-to-date information showing how much fuel is at each of its locations.

Are things getting better? A regional gas station association says the situation is improving. “By the end of this week we still won’t be back to normal, but the situation should at least be manageable,” the Gasoline and Repair Shop Association of New York’s Ralph Bombardiere told Reuters. Some individual gas station owners, however, warn that they aren’t getting shipments of fuel. The weather could play a big role, too: The region is in the midst of getting hit by another large storm.

Associations struggle, too: One group assisting gas stations, the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association, has been struggling with its own issues. “Our offices have been without power for eight days,” the group’s Sal Risalvato wrote in an alert published Monday. “In order to serve you and public officials during the storm, our staff has been working remotely all week from their homes, a neighbor’s house, or even at coffee shops just to power a phone, make calls, or coordinate with state officials. Thankfully, we found out late last night that power was restored to our area of Springfield and our team headed in today to pick up the pieces.”

The price at the pump: If you think all of this is affecting the price of fuel, you’d be surprised. According to AAA, gas prices are down in affected regions from a month ago. Even so, reports of price-gouging are widespread, leading New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the claims.

Are you in the region dealing with gas shortages? If so, how are you holding up?

And if put into a crisis situation like this, how would your association make do? Let us know in the comments.

(photo by Sunset Parkerpix/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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