Federal authorities Friday sought the help of the military to deliver 24 million gallons of fuel to restore gas supply in the areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. There is a severe shortage of fuel as almost 50 percent of the gas stations in Sandy affected areas are inoperable due to power outage.
According to the New York Times, Obama administration has authorized the Pentagon to deliver 12 million gallons each of gasoline and diesel to the affected areas in New Jersey. The fuel will be sourced mostly from commercial suppliers.
The fuel will be distributed across the regions in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help resupply stations. This would be sufficient to supply 15 gallons each to 1.6 million vehicles, the NY Times report said.
Long queues for fuel continued in several gas stations as people have resorted to panic buying fearing the power outage to extend for several more days.
The AAA, which has provided a list of functioning gas stations in its website, said that only 40-45 percent of gas stations were operating in New York while in New Jersey 45-50 percent are open and Long Island has only 35-40 stations that are working.
“This frustrating situation has resulted in long lines and shortages at the limited number of stations that remain open. We are hopeful that the situation will improve over the next few days as power is restored and more stations open for business,” AAA said in a statement.
Apart from this, the government has authorized the Energy Department to release fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, for the first time after the creation of the reserve in 2000, for rescue and restoration work in the flood affected areas. Two million gallons of fuel will be released initially for running generators, emergency equipment and federal buildings and vehicles aiding the recovery work.
“This loan from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve will help ensure state, local and federal responders in the impacted area have access to the diesel fuel they need to continue response and recovery efforts,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, CNBC reported.
In another move aimed at boosting power supply, the Homeland Security Department lifted restrictions on foreign-flagged ships for delivering fuel between U.S. ports.