Response to Long Gas Lines and Fuel Rationing After Hurricane Sandy
The Senate approved two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Gordon and Senator Jennifer Beck that would lessen the burden on gas stations and provide more options for consumers during a state of emergency.
“Superstorm Sandy revealed a real need to better make contingency plans for gas shortages for both residents and government vehicles used during the response,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “In addition to being incredibly frustrating to motorists trying to gas up to get to work and residents in need of fuel for generators, gas shortages were a challenge to municipalities and counties providing public safety and cleanup services. The bills passed by the Senate this afternoon remove regulatory hurdles that restrict the fuel supply during emergencies when we can ill afford red tape.”
The first bill, S-2581, provides a mechanism for fuel merchants to import motor fuel during the time of a state of emergency. Under current law, fuel merchants cannot purchase motor fuel from another state and import it in New Jersey unless the merchant first obtains a distributor’s license. After Hurricane Sandy, Governor Christie issued an executive order temporarily waiving this licensing provision to allow fuel to travel across state lines to boost supplies in New Jersey. The bill would eliminate the need for the Governor to issue future executive orders.
The second bill, S-2582, provides that during a state of emergency, when a retail motor fuel dealer exhausts the supply of a lowest grade gas that dealer can sell any remaining supply of higher octane motor fuel at the same price as the price of the lowest grade motor fuel.
“Gas stations represented a lifeline to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. They provided much-needed gasoline for cars and generators. These bills will help increase our access to fuel in future natural disasters,” said Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “During a state of emergency, we need to ensure that residents will be able to keep gas in their cars and generators working to restore some sense of normalcy.”
These bills now head to the General Assembly.