The Gas Crisis Is Over, At Least for Customers

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Hey, did you see that super-long line at the gas station this morning? No? Exactly. That's because the gas crisis, as it affects us consumers, is pretty much over. That is to say, it's not a crisis for us because we can get our gas. Mostly. But that doesn't mean the system that delivers our gas isn't still in a high state of disrepair, as the New York Times points out. It's just that they've figured out how to get the fuel to the stations and into cars faster and in greater volume than we've seen since Hurricane Sandy disrupted a lot of our petroleum infrastructure.

A couple major refineries, including one in Canada that just happened to be offline for maintenance when the storm hit, are coming back online, but many are still not working, and "industry experts warned that a full recovery of gasoline supplies was still weeks away," the Times' Winnie Hu and Clifford Krauss reported. In the meantime, fuel distributors are trucking gasoline and diesel to the region from other states. "One truck traveled 600 miles with 8,500 gallons of gasoline for emergency vehicles," and federal and state agencies have kicked in another 2.3 million gallons of gas to stations in danger of closing. When a terminal operator turned off an emergency generator powering the Buckeye Pipeline, which carries fuel between New Jersey and Long Island, "we had to call the chairman of Shell Oil and threaten to seize the terminal if they didn’t turn the generator back on in minutes," Gov. Andrew Cuomo's director of state operations told the Times.

While things are not yet back to normal behind the scenes, they're pretty much fine for us consumers, or at least getting there. The state of crisis — that is, of not knowing where your next tank of fuel is going to come from or when — has effectively ended. New Jersey lifted its gas rationing on Tuesday. New York City's is going to stick around for awhile longer, but there may be an end in sight: Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered it to stay in place until 6 a.m. on Monday.