Frustration at the pump reaches dangerous levels - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Frustration at the pump reaches dangerous levels

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COMPLETE SUPERSTORM SANDY COVERAGE

With the lack of electricity in a large portion of the tristate region, few gas stations are open and the few that are have long waits. Drivers are becoming increasingly frustrated and some gas stations owners are taking advantage of the crisis.

At the Petro station in Hempstead Turnpike on Long Island some drivers waited two hours to fill up. A gallon of regular gasoline was being sold for $5.99 on Friday morning.

Soon after Fox 5 News arrived on scene to report on long waits at the station, a man shut down the lights, put up caution tape and told a few drivers the station was out of gasoline.

Price gouging, or hiking prices above the market rate when no alternative is available, is illegal in New York State.

Gas was above $3 for a gallon of regular gasoline before Superstorm Sandy roared through the tristate region.

On Friday, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that two million barrels of oil was making its ways into New York Harbor.

"On this fuel situation, there is no reason to panic. We know why there was a shortage... will be better in near future," Cuomo said during a press briefing.

The Department of Homeland Security is temporarily waiving some maritime rules to allow foreign oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday she is waiving the Jones Act, which prohibits international cargo ships from transporting oil between U.S. ports , until Nov. 13.

The oil can't come soon enough. 

A St. Albans, Queens man was arrested after he allegedly pointed a gun at another motorist who complained when he cut the line.

On Friday, long lines formed in Westchester County as early as 6 a.m.

Dozens of cars snaked along the breakdown lane of the northbound Deegan Expressway for gas at a rest stop near Stewart Leonard in Yonkers.

On the southbound Deegan, near the Yonkers racetrack, about 30 cars lined up on the exit lane for a gas station. The vehicles spilled over to the highway, partially blocking traffic coming off the busy thorough way.

In the village of Elmsford, lines also formed at the few gas stations that remain open.

Yellow tape is pulled across the station driveways that are closed.

Minimarts at some of the stations, however, remain open.

There are reports of stations running out of gasoline.

"The problem is no electric. This is not a gasoline shortage, this isn't a supply shortage, this is a delivery shortage.. which is caused by the power problems," Sal Risolvato, Executive Director of the NJ Gasoline Retailers Association told Good Day NY on Friday.

"I predict that you will see that as power is restored to the distribution terminals, that's going to happen at the same time that gas stations will have their power back. I'm hearing reports by the end of the weekend we'll see this easing but you won't see a return to normal until the end of next week," said Risolvato.

The Obama administration is temporarily waiving some Clean Air Act requirements in 16 states and the District of Columbia to reduce fuel disruptions from Sandy.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter to governors that extreme circumstances related to Sandy will prevent enough gasoline from reaching consumers.

The waiver lets conventional gasoline be sold instead of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A blend of reformulated and regular gasoline will be allowed in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

The waivers last through Nov. 20.

The EPA also says New Jersey residents can use heating oil in emergency generators and pumps if cleaner diesel is unavailable.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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