News / Transportation

Fuel shortage forces long lines

Joe Hirsch

Customers wait in line to buy rationed gas at the BP station on Hunts Point Avenue on Nov. 6, while a police officer, right, maintains order.

In the aftermath of Sandy, gas is scarce in Hunts Point

While angry New Yorkers endured long waits in line to cast their ballots at disorganized polling sites on election day, some were just as frustrated with long, snaking lines that had formed for a very different reason: the shortage of gasoline.

On Election Day morning, a line of about 40 men and women stood with gas cans in a slow-moving line outside the BP service station next to the Bruckner Expressway on the corner of Hunts Point Avenue, waiting to fill up. Since Hurricane Sandy struck a week earlier, damaging refineries, gas has been hard to come by across the city.

A half-dozen uniformed officers from the 41st Precinct stood by, overseeing the lined-up customers holding gerry cans, and directing cars coming in and out of the station.

“This is not good. This could affect the election,” said James Perez, 45, who came to fill up early in the morning to allow himself enough time to vote later on. He said he had been in line for a half an hour already, and there were still two-dozen customers ahead of him.

Perez and the others in line chose to fill up their gas cans rather than driving in.

“I won’t bring [my car] here. This is hectic,” he said.

Many said they expected the shortage to end last week, based on assurances from the city.

“We’ve been told another two or three days. That was last Thursday. Nothing, and today’s Tuesday.” said Nicolas Rodriguez, 57, adding that he was filling up five cans for his brother, who drives a taxi.

The BP station was selling a maximum of $20 of gas—-approximately five gallons— to each can-carrying customer and to drivers. A police officer stationed outside the door permitted one buyer at a time to enter the store and make a payment before going to the pump to fill his or her cans.

One officer, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said he and other cops from the stationhouse have been overseeing the gas rationing at service stations on both sides of the Bruckner since last week.

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