U.S. Military to Deliver Fuel to New York Region

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Julio Cortez / AP

Jameel Brown walks away from a pump after filling up a container at a gas station in Newark, N.J., Nov. 2, 2012.

Amid tense reactions to long lines and closures at metropolitan New York gas stations, federal authorities decided to request that the Defense Department deliver 24 million gallons of extra fuel to the area and lift restrictions on deliveries from foreign ships, the New York Times reported. The fuel shortage has been one of the most pronounced consequences of Superstorm Sandy.

The Defense Department will hire hundreds of trucks to deliver 12 million gallons each of gasoline and diesel fuel from commercial suppliers to staging areas in New Jersey. A delivery of that size would fill about 800,000 vehicles with 15-gallon tanks, estimates the New York Times.

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New York reopened its port to tankers on Thursday and a crucial Northeast fuel pipeline was brought back to full capacity on Friday. Now, the biggest obstacles are lack of power at hundreds of New York-area gas stations and continued public buying, according to industry officials. Multiple refineries in the New York region are also still out of service.

Diana Weir, campaign manager for New York Congressional district 1’s Republican candidate Randy Altschuler, stated that the fuel shortage has been problematic for drivers and for local Congressional campaigns. “There’s a major gasoline crisis, a lot of stations are out of commission because of power, so they can’t pump their gas,” she said Thursday. “Others have huge lines of people trying to get gas. We’ve had to revert to walking campaigning as opposed to driving to connect with the community as a result.”

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As of Friday, according to AAA, only about 40 to 50 percent of New York City and New Jersey gas stations were operating. Even fewer were functional on Long Island, mostly due to power failures.The Pentagon was also authorized by the Department of Energy and the White House to tap the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve on Friday.
Gas prices have remained stable throughout this, and the deliveries should help restore status quo.“Our best guess is that things will be close to normal for consumers by Wednesday,” Brian Norris of the Oil Price Information Service told the New York Times.