Sandy One Year Later: Long Island still vulnerable to fuel shortages

Long gas lines are burned into the minds of many Long Islanders following Superstorm Sandy last year. Gas shortages and frustration were the norm for

NYSERDA, the state agency running Fuel NY, says only 186 stations have applied for grants so far.

NYSERDA, the state agency running Fuel NY, says only 186 stations have applied for grants so far. (10/22/13)

WOODBURY - Long gas lines are burned into the minds of many Long Islanders following Superstorm Sandy last year.

Gas shortages and frustration were the norm for almost two weeks across Long Island. With little to no power, fuel couldn't be pumped from the large waterside oil terminals or even at local gas stations. The stations that could operate got mobbed.

Robert Sinclair, of AAA New York, says the same thing could happen again if another hurricane hits the area. He says little has been done in the year after Sandy to prevent another fuel crisis.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently enacted "Fuel NY," a $17 million program that offers gas stations free cash grants to purchase generators or electric transfer switches for portable generators in order to keep pumps running after a big storm. The new equipment must be installed at 1,100 stations near major highways and evacuation routes by April 2014.

Sinclair says Long Island remains vulnerable this season since those changes won't be in place until next year.

NYSERDA, the state agency running Fuel NY, says only 186 stations have applied for grants so far.

Kevin Beyer, of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, helped create Fuel NY. He says the reason most stations didn't apply for grants yet is because officials haven't announced the details of how a state-run portable generator pool would work or what it would cost. He also says that getting price quotes and securing local building permits for generators can take time.

A petroleum industry spokesperson tells News 12 that dozens of companies have made major storm improvements to waterside fuel storage facilities in the area. However, in a previous News 12 investigation, only one fuel company would show us what actual improvements had been made since Sandy.

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