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New Yorkers scramble for gas in Hurricane Sandy aftermath

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2012
Catholic Online (

While the East coast continues to bail out after the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the need for gasoline - and the disruption of supplies during the apocalyptic storm - has left many scrambling. In response, thousands of people lined up to receive 11,000 gallons of free "Obama Gas," being distributed by the military at the Bedford Avenue Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - People waited as long as 16 hours at one Bay Ridge gas station. Tensions ran high in one 12-block long line along Bedford Avenue. Crowds grew restless as some desperate drivers tried to jump to the front.

"People have been cutting the line like crazy, and there's nothing you can do about it," said one man after sitting in his car for three hours. He said that he started the day by bicycling to seven closed stations with a gas can in tow before the free fuel arrived.

When one man tried to cut the FEMA line with a two-gallon gas can, six police officers were needed to restrain. The impatient driver was handcuffed and taken away -- as much for his own safety as anything else.
"It's not good getting into fights over little things like this," said one resident. "People get killed over things like this."

New York Governor Mario Cuomo urged city drivers whose patience and gas gauges were almost empty to hold on a little bit longer, saying the gas crisis would soon disappear.
The desperation is very real for many in the Big Apple. "I'm going to run out of gas and I'm freaking out," 38-year-old Tomas Steltz said as he pulled up to a Sunoco in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn - and was greeted by a "No Gas" sign.
"I've been driving around all morning," Steltz said. He says he's afraid he'll be unable to reach his job as an Astoria restaurant manager. "I heard that there was gas around but I can't find it."

Cuomo said the reopening of New York Harbor after Hurricane Sandy has already allowed the delivery of 8 million gallons of gas, with another 28 million due in the next few days.
"You will see quickly a real abatement on that pressure on the fuel system," Cuomo said as lines outside local gas stations stretched endlessly.
The FEMA tanker truck was one of five mobile fuel stations coming to the city and Long Island, offering free gas. The 8,000-gallon vehicle still didn't carry enough fuel to fill every car in need of fuel, let alone those carrying gas cans for generators.
Most stations were still closed throughout Brooklyn, although there were reports of sporadic pumping at random outlets. Some desperate drivers drove their cars to Connecticut in the hopes of scoring some fuel.
"This was truly a crisis," Cuomo said at his morning briefing. "This is one of the worst storms that have hit this metropolitan area in generations.
"So it really is a situation that requires patience and it requires the strength and resilience that New Yorkers are famous for. Fuel is on its way. You don't have to panic. We don't need anxiety. We don't need the lines. Be prudent, but fuel is one the way."


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