Avoiding gas lines in future storms a lesson after Sandy

October 29, 2013 8:29:39 PM PDT
Driving your car became something of a logistical nightmare in the days of Superstorm Sandy, all because there was very little gasoline.

An energy crisis was caused by a combination of power outage and a severe lack of deliveries to gas stations.

Listen to Harry Singh tell you about his three employees trapped inside his Coney Island gas station last year when the ocean water came pouring in.

"They were standing on this counter. The water was touching right, just below here," he showed.

Yet another example of the power and fury of Superstorm sandy, an ice machine. It was full one year ago it floated away, past the auto repair shops, past the open parking lot over.

It finally came to rest along the belt parkway, two to three blocks away.

One year and half-a-million dollars later, the station on Neptune avenue has new pumps, a renovated convenience mart and new fridges and freezers. And even though Singh had his business up and running again a mere three days after the storm, he now has a new action plan for the next storm that comes ashore.

"Today we are gearing toward putting transfer switches to adapt for generators or installing new generators," he adds.

People in New Jersey also have awful memories of stations short on gas and long on lines. To keep that scenario from repeating itself, Governor Chris Christie recently unveiled a 7-million dollar federally funded program that enables select gas stations to buy generators, all so the power keeps running and the gas keeps flowing.

"The cost savings, it's on average 12-to-15 thousand dollars for just the wiring. And then depending on the size of the location the generator can run anywhere from 40-to-80 thousand dollars," said Eric Degesero, Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey.

But people like Alex and Rich Tullo couldn't wait for government funds. The third-generation gasoline distributors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales when the Hudson and Passaic rivers flooded and shut down their South Kearny truck stop for two weeks.

The damaged equipment piled the losses even higher. All that led to a major investment in a brand new generator that sits 4-feet off the ground.

"It's gonna run our main office and all the fuel islands, pretty smoothly it'll run. It starts up in 30-seconds and we're back in business," said Rich.

And that can mean the difference between 'no gas' and 'no problem.'