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Should Gas Stations Have Backup Power For Pumps? Some Say No

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the tri-state region experienced long gas lines since there was no power to work the pumps. At this particular station in Summit NJ, only doctors and nurses were allowed to get gas, supervised by local police.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the tri-state region experienced long gas lines since there was no power to work the pumps. At this particular station in Summit NJ, only doctors and nurses were allowed to get gas, supervised by local police.

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In the areas of the U.S. affected by Hurricane Sandy, lines for gasoline have been long. The problem isn't really one of supply; rather, it seems to be one of electricity. After all, if there's no power, there's no way to run the pumps.

Several elected officials have proposed a legislative solution that would fix such problems in the future, but one group of opponents is holding it at bay.

The Queens Gazette reports that Assemblymember David Weprin and Rockland County State Senator David Carlucci (D-Clarkstown) plan to introduce a bill requiring many gas stations to have backup power sources. That would keep the pumps humming in the wake of subsequent storms like Sandy.

The bill would affect all gas stations built or substantially renovated in New York state after July 1, 2013. It would also affect stations within half a mile of interstates and other evacuation routes. The legislation, as written, requires that all such outlets "be capable of operating all fuel pumps, dispensing equipment, life safety systems and payment acceptance equipment using an alternative generated power source" for at least 72 hours.

Next door in New Jersey, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26th) is sponsoring similar legislation.

Both bills seem modeled on a Florida law that passed in 2007, but just as there, some people are fighting back. And by "some people", we mean gas station owners and their lobbyists. 

According to the report in Huffington Post, the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey has been particularly aggressive in its attacks on DeCroce's bill. Lobbyist Eric DeGesero claims that if passed, it would pose an unfair burden for gas station owners.

DeGesero argues that the bill ignores other crucial merchants and service providers, like grocery and hardware stores. He also points to the complexity of the fuel supply system. Will refineries need alternative power supplies, too? What about pipelines? 

Both bills may ultimately pass, but the legislative process will likely be very, very long. In Florida, the battle dragged on until a compromise was reached. In the end, it was decided that gas stations along evacuation routes must be able to switch to generator power, but they don't technically have to own generators. 

We'd love to hear your take on this -- especially if you live in the Northeast. Should station owners be responsible for backup power? If so, should they pay for it, or should oil companies? Or should we let the stations that can install backup systems do so, leaving them to reap the rewards when storms come ashore? Sound off in the comments below.

[via John Voelcker]

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Comments (5)
  1. After this fiasco I really hope New Jersey does mandate backup generators for all new gas station licenses. For under $10,000, which is a very small cost when opening a new gas station, the whole station and even the convenience store there can have a natural gas backup generator. There is simply no valid reason not to require it on all new stations from now on.
     
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    Bad stuff?

  2. Electricity Restoration will not help as most pumps have semiconductor computer controls that are now useless too.Water proof controllers needed. Perhaps a quick connect location for backup generator and a PLAN by FEMA to have generators ready ahead of time in close location. WATER--FOOD--FUEL
     
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    Bad stuff?

  3. m suprised they havent tried Solar power for the pumps. i mean all that space on top of them Flat Tall roofs on most Stations and no Solar Panels?
     
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    Bad stuff?

  4. I believe that gas stations SHOULD have backup generators AND that they should be paid for by the oil companies! We have been screwed by the oil companies for decades. Now, it's time for some payback! They can use the government subsidies that they get to install these generators!
     
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  5. I also believe that gas stations should have their own backup generators and have the gas companies pay for it. The price of a generator is only a very small fraction of the money they earn. Solar panels on stations may work too.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

 

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