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May 3, 2014

Feds stockpile gasoline for New England

Reserve would ease crunch during hurricanes, weather disasters

NEW YORK (AP) — The federal government offered New Englanders worried about hurricanes and natural disasters some hope yesterday that they won’t see chronic gasoline shortages when they announced plans to create gas reserves to ease future weather-related disruptions.

The two reserves — one for the New York City area and one in New England — will total 42 million gallons gasoline and will be stored in leased commercial terminals around Boston and New York Harbor, the Energy Department said.

The $200 million project will be paid with proceeds from a sale of crude oil from the government’s emergency reserves on the Gulf Coast. Officials said they hope to have the new gasoline reserves in place by the end of summer, before the start of the 2014 hurricane season.

It was welcome news for New York City motorists who endured a shortage that caused long lines at gas stations across the region, left emergency responders without enough fuel and briefly required 1970s-style rationing.

“If they could make that happen, I’m all for it,” said Keith Lee, a New York City cab driver.

Another cabbie, Surang Kalamon, was more skeptical, saying he remained worried both about gas supplies and rising costs at the pump. During Sandy, “We had to drive into New Jersey 50, 60 miles to get gas,” he said.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that the facilities were part of a larger effort to prepare for the consequences of global warming and “the effects of climate change we already see occurring at home.”

The 2012 storm knocked out refineries, damaged terminals and left gasoline stations without power, leading to severe gasoline shortages.

“Like sandbags and stockpiles of food and medicine, this gasoline reserve is what the Northeast needs to be ready for supercharged storms from climate change,” said U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

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