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Gas shortages frustrate Brooklyn drivers

AP Photo

Associated Press

Line in Sunset Park Stretched 2½ Miles

Like almost everywhere else in the Northeast, gas shortages in Brooklyn in the wake of Superstorm Sandy gave rise to frustration.

The power outages and flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy forced many gas stations to close and disrupted the flow of fuel from refineries to those stations that are open.

Northside Car Service in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has 250 drivers available on a typical Thursday evening. Last Thursday afternoon, they had just 20. "The gas lines are too long," said Thomas Miranda, an operator at Northside.

A cruel fate befell one man who got in line at a Brooklyn gas station at 4:20 a.m. on Friday.

Winston Alfred was second in line when the pumps ran dry at 8:30 a.m.

Alfred was distraught. He's a courier and needs his van to make deliveries.

Police allowed drivers near the front of the line to park in case a tanker came to the Gowanus-area station.

The station clerk had called the company about getting a tanker. But he hadn't heard back yet.

Vince Levine, of Park Slope, got in line with his van at 5 a.m. By 8, he was still two dozen cars from the front.

Like other drivers there, he was shutting his engine off during periods of sitting but had to restart whenever the line moved.

"I had a half-tank when I started," he said. "I've got a quarter-tank now."

About a mile away, in Sunset Park, people had been in line at another Hess station since 11 p.m. Thursday. The line stretched 2½ miles.

Besides the drivers, both stations had attracted lines of people holding gas cans for their generators.

At the same time, millions of gallons of gasoline are sitting at the ready in storage tanks, pipelines and tankers that can't unload their cargoes.

"It's like a stopped up drain," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

November 2, 2012 - 4:29pm


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