One year after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on East Coast power supplies and immobilized countless gas stations, many consumers are wondering whether they'll be able to fuel up if another storm of Sandy's magnitude hits again.
In parts of New York and New Jersey, where Sandy packed the most punch, motorists recall how difficult it was to find open gas stations—and how to survive their lines even if they did. In New Jersey, drivers were asked to comply with alternate license plate fueling, an emergency provision put into place by Gov. Chris Christie to help ration limited gasoline supplies.
The problems at the pump were many: Power outages across the East left stations without backup power generators unable to operate to dispense the supplies that they had on hand; power issues and flooding at major refineries crimped supply from getting to stations at all. Even further complicating matters, the Colonial Pipeline system, the region's main conduit for the transport of fuel supplies, couldn't pump from its Linden, N.J., fueling station.
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States and municipalities still coping with $65 billion in property damage have been taking measures since the superstorm to try to address some of the tangential problems like fuel shortages that arose during Sandy.
In New Jersey, the Christie administration last Monday announced $7 million in grants that would give retail fuel stations on and near evacuation routes faster and more reliable access to backup power in the event of an energy emergency.
Currently all 22 gas stations on the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City Expressway are equipped with backup power for outages. Under this new program, more stations within a quarter mile of key evacuation routes across the state would benefit from quicker access to backup energy.