The lines are vastly diminished, and worry about supply appears to have eased. That seemed to be the case just as County Executive Steve Bellone, echoing the actions of officials in Nassau County and New York City, imposed odd/even day gasoline rationing last Friday.
By Monday morning, the lines at stations beset with delivery and power problems were all but gone . . . and Legislator Steve Stern wants to make sure such a crisis never happens again.
On the heels of a similar proposal debuted in Nassau County, the Suffolk County legislator (D-Huntington) is sponsoring legislation to require gas stations be equipped with transfer switches that would enable them to continue pumping gas in the event of a long term power outage.
"The continuing aftermath of "Super-Storm Sandy" has clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of Long Island's fuel distribution system and left tens of thousands of residents waiting in long lines for hours to purchase gasoline needed to get to work and power home generators. While other factors have contributed to these shortages, many gas stations were unable to pump their existing fuel supplies, exacerbating an already difficult situation," a release from his office states.
"Our local service stations are some of the most important businesses in our communities. However, particularly during the most challenging times, they have an important public role to play," Legislator Stern said. "This is a reasonable, yet critically important initiative to help ensure that we are better prepared for emergencies in the future and are better able to rely on our local resources, especially during the first several days after a disaster."
To help defray to cost of complying with the new regulation, Stern plans to work with the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to pursue a special tax exemption for stations implementing the measure.
Stern planned to introduce the initiative at this week's meeting of the legislature.
The rationing plan imposed by Bellone permits motorists to gas up on alternate days by matching the last number of their license plates to the date. Drivers with plates that end in an odd number may get gas on an odd-numbered day; those with an even number gas up on an even-numbered day. Vanity plates are considered "odd."
As of this writing, the temporary program was still in place.