Frustration Grows Over Northeast Fuel Shortages

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 3 2012 1:00 PM

Power Slowly Returns, but Frustration Grows Over Fuel Shortages Amid Cold Snap

People line up to fill gas canisters at a gas station in Matawan, New Jersey. The state instituted gas rationing Saturday

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Many New Yorkers breathed a sigh of relief Saturday morning when they woke up to find they once again had power for the first time since Superstorm Sandy hit the region. But the troubles are far from over. Frustration is growing as millions are still without power amid concern by officials that utilities aren’t moving quickly enough, reports Bloomberg. And many of those lucky enough to have power were still feeling the aftershocks of Sandy as they often were forced to line up for hours in hopes of filling up their tanks amid dwindling fuel stocks. According to federal estimates, only one-third of gas stations in the New York metropolitan area had fuel to sell, notes the Wall Street Journal.

To help boost supplies, the Defense Department is setting up mobile gas stations to distribute as much as 10 gallons of free fuel per person in the New York area. And New Jersey instituted gas rationing as of Saturday at noon, reports the Associated Press. Yet gasoline is hardly the only concern. As the region gets ready for a cold snap that could lead temperatures to drop into the high 30s early next week, there’s fear some of the worst-affected may be left without heat due to a shortage of heating oil, notes Reuters.


Slates Will Oremus took a (long!) walk across Manhattan and recorded how people managed to mostly go about their daily lives without power. “As the lights flick on, they will reveal a city bruised but essentially intact. It will look almost as if everyone had power all along,” writes Oremus. “And in a way, they did.”

There is guarded optimism though that any shortage of heating oil will not last long as the government is making efforts to restore supplies. In the good-news department, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that 80 percent of the subway service had been restored, reports the New York Times. The death toll from the storm is now at 110 across nine states, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Cuomo has written a letter to state’s seven utilities this week, warning he wouldn’t hesitate to revoke operating certificates if they failed to restore power at an appropriate pace. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that if utilities failed to meet their own deadlines “they’re going to have problems with me.” The delay in restoring electricity lags far behind what was seen during Hurricane Irene, notes Bloomberg.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
The Eye
Oct. 22 2014 1:01 PM The Surprisingly Xenophobic Origins of Wonder Bread
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.