Gas shortage becoming more dire, but relief on way

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Gas stations across the North Fork remain closed Friday. But relief is expected to come over the next few days.

Suffolk County has ordered the few gas stations that still have gas to limit customers to filling just one tank per visit and up to an additional 10 gallons of gas for customers without power.

The county has dispatched police officers to post signs detailing the restrictions at gas stations. This morning, gas stations from Flanders to Peconic were closed and out of gas, and the situation is likely equally dire farther east.

The county is advising residents to stay home or remain local.

Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Riverhead) posted a statement this morning saying that the Buckeye pipeline, which provides gas to much of the middle of the island, is operational again. He also said the LIPA restored power to the Northville terminal in Riverhead last night.

There are currently 1 million gallons of gas being unloaded for distribution today with another 1.5 million for Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Losquadro said.

“With the weekend upcoming I urge you to not drive if you don’t have to,” Mr. Losquadro said.

Few gas stations leading into the North Fork were open Friday morning.

The Hess Station on Edwards Ave. at the Exit 71 entrance to the Long Island Expressway in Calverton was waiting for a shipment expected to arrive this afternoon, although a gas attendant said he couldn’t guarantee anything.

The gas shipment was originally supposed to come around 11 a.m., a woman waiting in line said.

About 45 cars were waiting in line this morning, stretching up and around River Road. (See story.)

People at the front of the line at Hess knew there was no gas, but those at the back of the line assumed there was gas, then took off when they were told a delivery was expected.

To the south, the Valero station on Route 51 just north of Sunrise Highway was open. About 50 cars were waiting on a line that stretched back to the northbound entrance ramp from Sunrise Highway. A Sheriff’s Deputy was on scene to maintain order.

In addition to power outages that kept many gas stations closed, many ports and refineries either shut down in preparation for the storm or were damaged during the storm.

The New York Times reported this morning that ports in New Jersey and New York City would re-open for limited fuel deliveries today and that the U.S. Department of Defense is sending several hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel to the region.

The Times that 70 percent of gas station on Long Island were closed.

Editor Michael White contributed reporting.