Gasoline shortages in northeast U.S. highlights how quickly modern societies will unravel following disasters

November 2, 2012NEW YORKWidespread gas shortages stirred fears among residents and disrupted some rescue and emergency services on Thursday as the New York region struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy after being ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Tiny increments of progress — some subway and bus lines were back in service — were overshadowed by new estimates of the storm’s financial cost, struggles to restore power, and by the discovery of more bodies in flooded communities. The lines of cars waiting for gas at a Sunoco here ran in three directions: a mile-long line up the Garden State Parkway, a half-mile line along Vauxhall Road, and another, including a fleet of mail trucks that needed to refuel before resuming their rounds, snaking through a back entrance. The scene was being replayed across the state as drivers waited in lines that ran hundreds of vehicles deep, requiring state troopers and local police to protect against exploding tempers. “I’ve been pumping gas for 36 hours, I pumped 1,500 gallons,” said Abhishek Soni, the owner of an Exxon in Montclair, where disputes on the line Wednesday night had become so heated that Mr. Soni called the police and turned off the pumps for 45 minutes to restore calm. “My nose, my mouth is bleeding from the fumes. The fighting just makes it worse.” Four days after Hurricane Sandy, the effort to secure enough gas for the region moved to the forefront of recovery work. The problems affected even New York City, where the Taxi Commission warned that the suddenly indispensable fleet of yellow cabs would thin significantly Friday because of the fuel shortage. City officials said they had reached an agreement with a major supplier Thursday night that would ensure emergency operations — fire, police, sanitation and work by the parks department to clean up downed trees — would continue uninterrupted. Though Thursday marked a return to routine for many who ride the subway to work or celebrated the resumption of power, the scenes of long lines, fistfights at gas stations and siphoning at parking lots highlighted the difficult, uneven slog to recovery.  The losses from the storm will approach $50 billion, according to an early estimate from economists at Moody’s Analytics — about $30 billion in property damage, the rest in lost economic activity like meals and canceled flights. At the same time the death toll in New York City rose to 38, as rescuers continued to discover bodies while combing through coastal wreckage. Among them were the bodies of two boys, 2 and 4, who had been torn from their mother by raging floodwaters on Staten Island on Monday night. The lack of power continued to bedevil efforts to address the damage. About 43 percent of customers in New Jersey and about 16 percent in New York State remained without electricity, and Officials said that they expected power to be restored to all of Manhattan by Saturday. Those issues were only aggravated by the increasingly short supply of gas, particularly given that many suburban residents in New Jersey and elsewhere were heading to the stations to fuel generators, which provided the lone source of power and heat to homes across the region. According to figures from AAA, roughly 60 percent of stations in New Jersey and 70 percent of stations on Long Island were closed. At stations that were open, nerves frayed. Fights broke out at the block-long Hess station on 10th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, forcing the Police Department to send three officers to keep the peace, a police official said. The ports and refineries that supply much of the region’s gas had been shut down in advance of the storm and were damaged by it. That disrupted deliveries to gas stations that had power to pump it. But the bigger problem was that many stations and storage facilities remained without power. –NY Times
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This entry was posted in 2012, Civilizations unraveling, Cloudburst storms with flashflooding, Cyclone or Hurricane, Dark Ages, Deluge from torrential rains, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Electric power disruption & grid failure, Extreme Weather Event, Gale-force winds and gusts, High-risk potential hazard zone, Human behavioral change after disaster, Infrastructure collapse, Prophecies referenced, Strange high tides & freak waves, Time - Event Acceleration, Unprecedented Flooding. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gasoline shortages in northeast U.S. highlights how quickly modern societies will unravel following disasters

  1. Caroline in WV says:

    This is just the beginning as the thin veneer of civilisation begins to peel. Many of the hardest hit areas along the Jersey shore and the coast of Long Island have descended into a state of anarchy. At the moment, there are still approximately 4.7 million homes and businesses that do not have power. Officials say that some of those homes and businesses may not have their power restored until the weekend of November 10th and 11th. Meanwhile, it is getting very cold at night. This weekend the low temperatures on Long Island are supposed to dip into the upper thirties. There have been reports of people diving into dumpsters behind supermarkets in a desperate search for food, and there have been other reports of roaming gangs of criminals posing as officials from FEMA or Con Edison and then robbing families at gunpoint once they have gained entrance into their homes. If people will behave like this during a temporary emergency that lasts only a few days, what would they do during a total economic collapse? That is a frightening thing to think about.

  2. M.A.D says:

    I saw sandy coming in, like the hand of God just waving his hand over the land , I would of never be thinking that such a small thing could be so big, Be safe

  3. Ann says:

    This will become the new normal

  4. Irene C says:

    My prayers are truly for these people. However, they knew this storm was coming and the one thing they should have done is make sure they had a full tank of gas, and extra gas if they were able. Power goes out, refineries and gas stations lose power, people get desperate, tempers flare. These thing sill happen during a major storm/hurricane. And if anyone still believes that during a crisis situation, everyone will band together and sing Kumbaya is, I’m sorry, still living in a fantasy world.

  5. Emanni says:

    Hurricane Sandy Dumpter Divers

  6. J. A. Bittar says:

    In hindsight, how difficult would it have been to equip gas stations with backup gasoline generators to power their own pumps as well as their cash registers? It seems that the assumption that the grid will always be available was incorrect.

    • Granny says:

      Pencil and paper work OK to work out the price owed. And the storage tanks can be opened and the gas siphoned with hoses or even dipped with a bucket or something sans holes, though you risk also getting debris or water that engines don’t like. However, if the storage tank is empty, that is that. Might as well get started on clean up or play checkers.

  7. TxMongoose says:

    I do feel sorry for the many people affected by this storm.

    However, I was born and raised in the country with a ‘learn to survive’ attitude. I live now in the city, and here is what I have seen:

    People that live in the big city, are on the gov’t teet, or just working for their own luxury, have no clue what it takes to be ready for anything. They had a week to know this was coming. Common sense would have told them this was not a small storm. NY is only 3 feet above sea level. If even a 10 ft storm surge comes, do the math, they didn’t and now they act surprised? Of course things will grind to a halt and take much longer than expected to even start working. Again, why is this a surprise? They had a week to fuel up their cars, get water, get non-perishable food for at least 5 days, and maybe, just maybe, just plain leave.

    As for the elderly, the people unable to leave physically, and the people in the hospitals, those people should have been given all means necessary by the local and state authorities to arrange them to be moved, if possible, to other facilities. Heck, let neighbors help them out too. They needed to be the first to be evac’d.

    I was trained as well in survival tactics and the motto was “hope for the best and prepare for the rest”. It is not hard to prepare…takes a day or two, dedicate your time and one can actually do it on the cheap. There are ways.

    I really hope people learn from this as you CANNOT depend on the gov’t to be there for you in all things. This is a great example how people must come together to help each other out. That way you are afforded more opportunity for protection, pooling resources, help in daily tasks, taking turns getting spplies, etc…

    However, i do believe this is just a taste of what is coming down the road, and unless people learn from mistakes and take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills, it will be too late when the time comes for action.

    TxM

    • dan says:

      good post !! but the reality is you don’t wont these kinds of people to be prepared because they are a burden on the earth as it is!!
      let them perish…….
      the smart will survive the rest can go to……..

  8. The New York Times
    Friday, November 2, 2012 — 7:02 PM EDT
    —–

    U.S. Military to Truck Fuel to Region Hit by Hurricane Sandy

    As long lines persisted at gas stations in the New York metropolitan area, federal authorities moved Friday to restore supplies, turning to the Defense Department to deliver 24 million gallons of extra fuel to the region and lifting restrictions on deliveries by foreign-flagged ships.

    With the reopening of the New York port to tankers on Thursday, and the return of a critical Northeast fuel pipeline to full capacity on Friday, the biggest outstanding problems are the lack of power at hundreds of gas stations and continued panic buying by the public, industry officials said.
    As of Friday, according to AAA, only about 40 percent to 50 percent of the gasoline stations in New York City and New Jersey were operating, and even fewer on Long Island, most of them out of service because of power failures.

    In conjunction with Friday’s move, the Pentagon was authorized by the Department of Energy and the White House to tap the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

    Read More:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/business/military-to-deliver-fuel-to-storm-region.html?emc=na

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