Petrol rationing is being expanded in parts of the northeastern USA devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The region has now been hit by winter snowstorms sending temperatures plummeting and cutting power in up to 300,000 homes and businesses. Long queues are forming as motorists attempt to buy fuel not just for their cars but for generators so they can heat their homes.
“Only 25 percent of our gas stations, we estimate, are open”, said New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, “drivers are still facing long lines, frustrations are only growing and it now appears that there will be shortages for possibly another couple of weeks. The best way we think to cut down on the lines and help customers buy gas faster, to help gas stations stay open longer and to reduce the potential for disorder, is to alternate the days that drivers can purchase gas”.
It is estimated that the economic bill for Superstorm Sandy will be around 50 billion dollars. That figure looks like increasing as the bitter cold, rain and snow add to the misery, preventing more people from getting to work.
“It’s pretty cold, man, pretty cold”, said one resident wiping snow off his car. “There’s no fuel for the generator so I’m going to try and get fuel today, see if I can warm up the house a little bit. But once I get a little bit of gas we should be good. We don’t have hot water so it’s just a matter of heating up the apartment a little bit.”
Since Sandy struck on October 29, electricity companies have been working round the clock to restore power, but heavy snow settling on cables is causing fresh outages. The governor of New York Andrew Cuomo says the disaster has exposed serious flaws in the structure of utility companies.