Gas Station Frenzy Enrages Residents


West Hempstead gas station showcases long lines, excruciating wait at the pumps

Liquid gold, fuel, petrol…juice. These are just some of the many names that people from NASCAR to Nassau use to describe the propellant that powers millions of cars. However before, during and after Hurricane Sandy, a once in a lifetime storm that rocked the Northeast last week, getting gas went from a routine trip to the pump to an automobile conga line.

Whether it was the wee hours of the morning, a late trek or drive at night, residents were out in full force to grab a drip for their generator or fill up their vehicle. Some dealt with the wait while others were less than patient.

“This is ridiculous I tell you,” said Julio Tangera, about one-quarter mile from Gas Sale, a fueling station on Hempstead Avenue. “Five more minutes, then I’m gone. I’ve been here two hours.”

The long and winding road of cars that blocked traffic on neighboring Woodview Road, Fairway Drive and Long Drive created some hiccups for intersecting drivers attempting to get onto Hempstead Avenue. The line of vehicles was backed up onto Woodfield Road, past the Western Beef supermarket.

To the chagrin of many drivers, BP Gas Station next door is still closed.

“How could only one of two gas stations be open in a crisis like this,” a woman exclaimed, sticking her head out of the vehicle.

There actually was a good explanation for it.

“We don’t have power. I don’t know when we’re getting it back,” a BP attendant said, looking outside the front window of the convenience store of the station. He declined to comment further.

According to the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) website, more than 3,100 West Hempstead residences were without power after Sandy hit Long Island. The website said LIPA at times, “intentionally turns off power on sections of the electric distribution system to make a permanent repair, or to make another repair that will restore power to additional customers.”

East Meadow resident Sandra Gollick hadn’t given up the search for the soluble solution yet, but knows the quest may have been futile at the time.

“I don’t know when I’m getting my power back, much like everyone else,” Gollick said. “I’ve driven everywhere to find gas. I guess it wasn’t the smartest move but if I don’t do it, when will I?”

In a statement on its website, LIPA noted that it restored power to 16 of 21 hospitals, 22 Substations of 50 that were out of power and had 1,200 High Voltage and Tree Trim Crews working on power systems as of Nov. 2.

“A lot of gas stations are jacking up prices and it’s unfair,” Jamel Stacey said. “They know we need it and we know they got it.”

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano said that if anyone suspected price gouging, an occurrence when prices are increased intentionally because of high demand, to contact consumer affairs at 516-571-2600 or contact the comptroller’s office at 516-571-2383.

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