‘Fuel NY’ to equip gas stations for the next major storm

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New Yorkers are still talking about the gas crisis after Superstorm Sandy. “I couldn’t drive at all. I couldn’t make it to work; I couldn’t find gas nowhere,” said Dix Hills resident Renny Ruiz.

There was no power and no gas.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday a plan to help area gas stations install emergency generators.  Under “Fuel NY” up to 17 million dollars of federal Sandy relief funding will go to eligible gas stations in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland County.  The money will go towards either electrical wiring that will hook gas stations up to portable generators or the installation of permanent generators.

“Fuel NY will provide first responders, essential personnel, evacuating residents and other motorists with peace-of-mind knowing that gas stations have the necessary back-up power capacity to distribute gasoline and get things back to normal as quickly as possible after a major storm,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

According to the Governor’s office, eligible gas stations will receive between 10 and 13 thousand dollars for the installation process.

“What you want to do is make sure service stations can quickly fire up the generator or have the generators installed and be ready to go,” said Michael Watt, the Executive Director of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association.

But emergency generators don’t solve everything.  Infrastructure damage, flooding and port closures meant gas stations couldn’t even get the gas they needed for days after Sandy.

“I think they should also figure out how to get the gas on Long Island if we ever have another superstorm,” said Don Caroleo of Dix Hills.

“One of the lessons we learned was the need for emergency communication systems where we can get in touch with the distributors and the people who move the product so everyone knows where the product is, what the statuses is and we can expect deliveries,” said Watt.