Why East Coast Gas Shortages May Not End for a Week
Still, this is little comfort for drivers waiting in line who know the tank farms line the turnpike, but their local stations are unable to open.
"In the scheme of things, because there is a plentiful supply somewhere, it's not a shortage of supply and because it's not being consumed right now, that can put downward pressure on prices," Risalvato said. "If this was a case where the product wasn't there, it would put extreme upward pressures on the price."
"It's just a game they play," said one unhappy man, waiting Thursday at the Vince Lombardi service station on the New Jersey Turnpike. "There's no reason for this we have so much gas down the street...Elizabeth, there's no reason we can't have gas."
(Read More: Scenes From Hurricane Sandy.)
Charlie Zussman didn't realize he was going to be waiting so long when he got into line at the Ridgefield, N.J. service area. "We did some of our errands around town, had enough gas. Took care of business. And thought we'd fill up for the duration. And here we are stuck in line," he said.
Others had no choice but to get fuel. Dale Dermer was doing recovery work in flood-plagued Hoboken, and needed fuel. "We have to take the diesel over for the big vac units that we have. It's just a nightmare over there. It's a nightmare everywhere," he said.
The increased use of home generators, powered by gasoline or diesel, has added to the post-storm demand for gasoline. So besides the drivers, gas stations saw long lines of customers on foot, lugging bright red gas cans.
CNBC's Mary Thompson and Kate Kelly contributed to this story
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