Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed making grants to key gas stations so they can run backup generators and keep pumping after disruptive storms and avoid a replay of Superstorm Sandy, when many shut down.
After last fall’s storms and flooding, many stations around the Tri-State area had fuel but lacked power and couldn’t pump, leading to shortages, lines, hoarding and price gouging.
As a result, gas rationing rules were put into effect in New York City, Long Island and parts of Westchester and Rockland counties. Similar rules were also imposed by Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey.
The Cuomo administration is proposing grants up to $10,000 from federal disaster funds to help about one-third of New York’s 6,000 gas stations install the wiring for backup generators.
In budget proposals that will be submitted Thursday, stations along evacuation routes or near highway exits must make arrangements for backup generators within 24 hours after they lose power.
Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on federal authorities to investigate gas prices as they continue to climb nationwide. He’s also pushing for a long-term plan to break up big oil companies into several smaller ones to create more competition.
“We now have only about four large companies. That means when prices go up, they go up much faster and when the come down, it’s much slower,” Schumer said.
But Cuomo wants to go after stations that are raising prices unreasonably.
“To the extent the state does have jurisdiction, there shouldn’t be any gas gouging or exploitation of the situation,” he said.
The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.77 compared to $3.63 in New Jersey and $3.98 in Connecticut. In New York, it’s $4.