Response to Long Gas Lines and Fuel Rationing After Hurricane Sandy
The Senate Transportation Committee 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.
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.
“Hurricane Sandy showed us that there is still much to do to better prepare when a storm is coming. This bill is another example of what we can do better before, during and after natural disasters,” said Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Simply put, these bills allow for other methods to help put much-needed gasoline into the cars of New Jersey drivers during a state of emergency.”
“Gas lines and shortages were among the most frustrating problems for victims of Sandy in the days immediately following the storm,” said Beck (R-Monmouth). “In some instances, they also slowed the recovery process as municipal and public safety vehicles could not get the fuel they needed, either. These bills remove regulatory hurdles that restrict the fuel supply during emergencies when we can ill afford red tape.”
These bills now head to the full Senate for approval.