Motorists Finding 'Nemo' Fillup a Challenge

Stations experience long lines; many run out of gas as major blizzard hits Northeast

Published in CSP Daily News

TORRINGTON, Conn. -- Weather-related gasoline supply issues again took center stage late last week and over the weekend as massive snowstorm "Nemo" struck the Northeast on Friday. The blizzard brought more than three feet of snow to some areas and cut power to more than 650,000 homes and businesses. More than three feet had fallen on central Connecticut by Saturday afternoon, and areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire saw two feet or more of snow as the storm began to wane, reported USA Today.

The storm is being blamed on at least seven deaths, three in Canada and four in the United States.

Many gas stations in the region reported long lines, even as Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island declared states of emergency and some areas restricted driving and closed roads, bringing travel to a standstill.

And many stations in the region ran out of gasoline during the rush to prepare for the approaching blizzard, said the Associated Press.

In a sampling of the many reports, motorists said stations in Torrington, West Hartford, Vernon, East Lyme, Conn., and other towns ran out of fuel Thursday afternoon and evening as people filled their cars and trucks as well as containers for generators and snow blowers, AP said.

Cumberland Farms worker Brittany Brienza in Torrington told The Register Citizen that her store had to shut off its pumps at about 5:00 p.m. Thursday after running out of gasoline and had to refund money to customers who prepaid before the gasoline ran out. The station ran out of fuel despite getting a gasoline delivery Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Cumberland Farms chain offered free coffee to snowplow drivers and utility workers during th storm.

Motorists formed lines at stations across Long Island on Thursday night and Friday morning, reported The Long Beach Patch.

In New York, gas lines quickly grew at several stations while drivers searched for fuel, said CBS New York. But some drivers had a hard time finding stations that were still open, said the report.

Sudden demand left several stations in Brooklyn and Queens with no fuel by Friday afternoon, The New York Daily News said.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, announced on Friday, "There is no need to do panic buying of gas for your cars; all indications are the gas supply is plentiful and deliveries will not be disrupted."

Hess Express posted on its website and tweeted fuel inventories and availability, indicating site closures in some areas in Massachusetts.