As New Yorkers deplete the last gallons of gas in their vehicles, the race for gas builds momentum and the lines for fuel grow longer, wrapping around corners, obstructing avenues and feeding traffic jams.
The 2012 gas shortage has rapidly skyrocketed to the top of the region’s most serious concerns and has met with responses from state politicians.
On Saturday, November 3, 5,000 gallon fuel trucks were “deployed in key locations in New York City and Long Island in order to help provide gas to emergency vehicles and the general public,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo, with an additional 150,000 gallons of gas available to restock trucks throughout the day. The trucks were sent to armories in every borough except Manhattan and to one on Long Island. Gas at these locations was initially dispensed to residents, but later only to emergency responders, with the long lines continuing this week.
More recently, Governor Cuomo announced that the governors of Connecticut Massachusetts and Delaware are temporarily allowing their fuel to be transported to New York in an effort to alleviate the crisis.
Nonetheless, the resolution is not coming quickly enough, contends city Comptroller John Liu, who released a statement on November 6, saying, “People depend on gasoline to go to work, run their businesses, and to provide care for children and the elderly. The shortage has become a serious economic and public-safety issue.” According to Liu, the cost of the shortage amounts to $100 million in wasted time.
Drivers are frustrated. “I don’t understand why there are such long lines in New York when, in New Jersey, the gas stations are going about their business as usual,” exclaimed Bay Ridge resident Phyllis Casaletto.
On the other end of the spectrum, some Brooklyn residents expressed contempt toward the people waiting in the long lines. “I think the city has done all it can and it’s mostly the citizens’ fault,” stated Midwood resident Sam Jenkelowitz. “People are waiting to fill up half tanks because of fear. If this gas hoarding continues, then we’ll need to apply the license plate system New Jersey did.”
In the meantime, the gas frenzy has posed a threat to public safety.
Locally, on November 3, a reckless driver struck two 68th Precinct officers while they were directing traffic on the corner of 65th Street and Eighth Avenue.
“The driver was apprehended a block away and arrested for this reckless incident,” said Captain Richard DiBlasio, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct. The men hit were transported to Lutheran Hospital and suffered minor bumps and bruises. Subsequently, another 68th Precinct officer was bitten by a driver, who also was arrested.
“Although I understand that many are frustrated about the gas situation, I can’t express to you how important it is to drive carefully and to listen to the direction of officers. Failure to do so can result in more serious injuries to police officers, pedestrians and to other drivers,” DiBlasio stressed.