As the word spread Thursday of the difficulty that oil companies were having in delivering gasoline to service stations, panic set in from New Jersey to New York City and up into the Hudson Valley.
By late afternoon, vehicles were lined up for blocks in the region, waiting to buy the “liquid gold.” Compounding the problem was the continued major power outage with people buying generators in record numbers, adding to the demand at the pumps.
Many stations ran out of gas with people still waiting at the pumps.
Alexis Eggleton of Pine Bush was in Sullivan County during the afternoon and saw no problems. When she got back into northern Orange County around dinner time, that's when she saw lines at gas stations.“All three gas stations has 20-plus cars in line, had Town of Crawford PD out there trying to keep everyone calm and trying to keep everybody together,” she said. “I actually witnessed a fender-bender with people trying to figure where to go.”
Orange County Executive Edward Diana spoke with state officials in Albany on Thursday and said supplies of gasoline are on their way to the region, “yet residents should know the process will take time.” He said as a temporary solution is sought, “I advise residents to be prudent with their supply and limit any unnecessary travel. I also ask for your continued cooperation and patience during these difficult times by showing mutual respect for one another.”
Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef had a similar message for the public. “I encourage consumers to conserve fuel and avoid unnecessary driving as stations are being reopened and restocked. Many of our stations have shut due to flooding, lack of power, or no fuel."
Vanderhoef said the county expects independent distributors “to move with deliberate speed to help meet consumer demand for fuel. In addition, the County will do all in its power to ensure that emergency responders and other essential service providers requesting fuel have an adequate supply. During this period, which we hope will be very short, I urge all to conserve fuel when possible and exercise patience as our gas stations are resupplied.”