Car chaos as Sandy storms off
LINE OF DESPERATION: People desperate for fuel line up at a petrol station with canisters as the effect of hurricane Sandy sinks in.
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NEW YORK - The fuel supply crisis gripping New York and the US' eastern seaboard deepened on Thursday, November 1, 2012 as the city's iconic taxis started turning away business while drivers searched hours for a tank of petrol.
There were growing signs that the worst of the crunch was not over.
Long, increasingly ill-tempered, lines of fuel-seekers snaked through New York and neighboring New Jersey, snarling traffic as people hunted for the few service stations still operating after Hurricane Sandy had passed through. Less than half of the thousands of stations in the region were open, officials said.
With major refineries, fuel terminals and oil pipelines still out of service three days after Sandy and demand picking up as normal life resumes, the situation is getting worse instead of better. More than four-million homes and businesses remain in the dark. The need to find fuel for generators has led to competing lines of people clutching petrol cans - metal and plastic - at fuel stations everywhere.
Corey Hill, a 40-year-old plumber, said he'd traveled for 10 hours through Queens and Brooklyn trying to find fuel. A long line was waiting as technicians tried to fix a generator at the service station on the border of the two boroughs. Hill said: "I've had people with emergencies waiting on me but if I can't get fuel I can't get to my customers."
In New Jersey, known for its vast refining and oil-storage network and low fuel taxes, less than 40% of the 2944 fuel stations monitored by the American Automobile Association fuel had the power to pump it. In New York City, as few as a third of the stations could pump. Jet fuel was also in short supply.
At lunchtime Thursday the number of cabs operating in New York City was down by around 30% - and they were needed with the underground rail network down.
Meanwhile there were thousands who no longer needed petrol: those whose cars were drowned, crushed, trapped by fallen trees or simply disappeared in the maelstrom of water as Hurricane Sandy and a full-moon high tide combined to hurl a wall of seawater across low-lying areas of the city that never sleeps.