I-Team: Drilling Down to the Cause of the Gasoline Shortage
Explanations for the gas crisis have ranged from power outages at the pumps to customers hoarding fuel, but tonight we are getting a clearer picture of the real problem. Thursday, estimates from the Department Of Energy show 38% of gas stations in our region do not have fuel. That's up from 34 percent Wednesday. The reason seems to be severe damage at about 9 key gas distribution facilities. I-Team reporter Chris Glorioso has more on the story.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday proposed offering grants to key gas stations to help them run backup generators and keep pumping after disruptive storms, a move designed to avoid a replay of Sandy, when many shut down.
After last fall's storms and flooding, many stations on Long Island, parts of New York City and its suburbs had fuel but lacked power and couldn't pump, leading to shortages, long lines, hoarding and price gouging.
The administration is proposing grants up to $10,000 from federal disaster funds to help about a third of New York's 6,000 gas stations install the wiring for backup generators.
In budget proposals scheduled to be submitted Thursday, those stations along hurricane evacuation routes or within a half-mile of highway exits must make arrangements for backup generators within 24 hours after they lose power.
"The state will be subsidizing the wiring expense for the stations," Cuomo said. "It will be their responsibility to make provisions to have a generator. They don't have to have a generator on site, but they have to have a provision to have a generator within 24 hours for these stations that are strategically located."
Over time, the requirements would apply to 2,800 or 3,000 stations, including all new ones next year and those getting major renovations, said Howard Glaser, director of state operations. Small stations that pump less than 75,000 gallons a month will be exempted, he said.
Florida has a somewhat similar requirement, though it applies to less than 10 percent of its stations, Glaser said.