Several long lines of cars stretched down the intersection of Route 27 and Allston Rd in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick Township on Wednesday Oct. 31, all destined for the BP gas station at the corner.
Another line of people with gas cans stood on the BP’s premises waiting to get gas for their emergency generators. This same scene was repeated over and over again at other gas stations that still had electricity across the area.
Jason Green from South River, who was waiting with his plastic gas can said he was helping his brother. Along the way, Green observed that very few places in his area even had gas. “You can’t get no gas in South River only on [Route] 18.” said Green.
The gas was gone only a few hours later, according to the Kendall Park BP’s gas manager and mechanic Hesham Elsisi. “I closed Wednesday night at around nine o’clock. I sold that day twenty five thousand gallons”, said Elsisi. He explained that in a normal day he sells about five thousand gallons.
Hurricane Sandy left a lot of places with no power, including key gas refineries and terminals throughout NJ. “The New Jersey terminal of gas had no power so they could not bring gas from New Jersey. I was getting my gas from Pennsylvania,” said Elsisi.
Because of the long lines, and consequently long wait, Elsisi said the customers got impatient and some of them caused some problems. “People cut in lines, and once somebody cut in line everybody freak out on him, and they fight with the employee who has nothing to do with it.”
According to the manager, last week they had to deal with this situation a number of times. “You cannot measure how many fights I had last week. I had like fifty fights”, said Elsisi. “To me I feel like it’s the end of the world: people fighting over the gas,” he said.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, oil suddenly became a commodity and gas stations had long lines not seen since the oil embargo of the early 1970’s.
With all the lines and some gas stations running out of gas, New Jersey temporarily implemented odd-even licence plate gas restrictions in 12 counties including Middlesex, Monmouth, Hunterdon and Somerset. Mercer and Burlington counties are not affected by these restrictions.
Governor Chris Christie stated that as of 6 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13, the gas rationing will be over.