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Subject: Gas Prices and Sandy
(Posted on Nov 4, 2012 at 09:27AM by Media Manager)


Gas prices have now been climbing for more than 13 weeks and the national average retail diesel price fell 4.9 cents to $4.09 a gallon during the week ended Monday, Sept. 24, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

The average price of diesel in the U.S. increased 5.6 cents to $4.15 per gallon, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) - adding that expectations for a "normal" cold winter is already boosting demand for heating oil, which could lead to further hikes diesel fuel prices as both are made from the same petroleum distillate stock.

Now a fith day of gasoline "panic buying" at the pumps among storm-stricken New York area motorists prompted authorities on Friday to tap strategic oil reserves and waive shipping regulations even as limited deliveries resumed in the battered region.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo said he would temporarily lift tax and registration requirements on tankers docking in the New York Harbor, which had just reopened to oil vessels. The main fuel pipeline from the Gulf Coast region also resumed shipments last Friday, while a handful of oil storage terminals also began shipping out fuel again under generator power.The U.S. government said it will loan two million gallons of diesel from the Northeast emergency heating oil reserve to the military for recovery efforts, and waived rules barring foreign-flagged vessels from carrying fuel between U.S. ports in a bid to boost supplies.

Governor Cuomo stated."There should be a real change in conditions and people should see it quickly,".

While the waivers sent benchmark New York gasoline futures two per cent lower, they will do little to address the biggest obstacle to getting fuel to consumers: the power outages that have shut nearly two-thirds of the filling stations in the New Jersey and New York City area and are still hindering service at major oil terminals and refineries along the harbor.

Faced with losing another day of business, William Torrens got up at 5 a.m. in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to queue for fuel. The owner of All Clear Plumbing waited for four hours in a six-block line at a Sunoco station before finally getting gasoline for his truck and home generator.

"I haven't seen something like this since I was a kid and there was a gas shortage," Torrens said, adding the shortage was costing his business money.

"I can't spare a truck to sit for four hours in line. When my guys run out of gas, they're going to have to sit."

In Brooklyn, taxi drivers hunted for fuel. Long lines formed outside even empty stations after rumours spread they would soon receive fuel deliveries. Officials said the number of cabs on the road by Friday morning was down 24 per cent from last week.

By the end of the Friday, motorist group AAA said the situation was slowly improving as some areas had their power restored. But the U.S. Energy Information Administration said two-thirds of service stations in the New York City area were still without gasoline for sale.

Prices at the pump have remained steady despite the shortages, AAA said, averaging just below $4 a gallon in New York City, 2 cents lower than last week. However, on Long Island, where only a third of all stations were working, average gasoline prices jumped 5 cents from a day earlier.

But online, Craigslist users started offering gasoline for as much as $15 a gallon to motorists and homeowners not wishing to brave the lines.

There were some signs the situation could improve as the complex New York Harbor network of terminals, storage tanks and pipelines was finally returning to service.

Speaking with Governor Cuomo at a press conference, Rear Admiral Daniel Abel of the U.S. Coast Guard said fuel barges in New York Harbor may be allowed to pump gasoline directly from barges into oil tanker trucks waiting on the dock.

"We're looking at creative alternatives," Abel said. "They (can) hose the fuel directly from the barge to a truck, if they can do that safely."

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