Councilman David G. Greenfield is calling on the state and federal government to take immediate action under the state of emergency declared in response to Hurricane Sandy to end the ongoing gas crisis in New York City that continues to cripple the economy and force residents to endure unacceptably long wait times at gas stations. Councilman Greenfield is also demanding answers from the federal Department of Energy, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as to why this situation has continued with no relief in sight, while other neighboring states have not faced similar shortages.
“I share the outrage of the countless residents and business owners who have called me in search of answers to this unacceptable situation. Officials at all levels of government must make solving this issue a top priority as we continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy. The impact this shortage is having on our city is crippling and cannot continue. I am demanding that real steps, including gas rationing, be immediately taken to abate this shortage, and that the city and state provide clear answers to the public,” said Councilman Greenfield.
Councilman Greenfield is calling on the governor and mayor to put restrictions in place to help alleviate the strain on gas supplies, including instituting a rationing system similar to the one imposed in New Jersey — something Greenfield called for in New York days ago. The rationing system would allow drivers to fill up only every other day depending on their license plate number. Greenfield is also seeking to limit the amount of containers individuals are allowed to fill at the pump to a maximum of 10 gallons to help reduce lines and the potential for gas hoarding. Finally, in order to bring long-term relief to motorists, Councilman Greenfield is calling on the federal government to increase the amount of gasoline it is allocating to the New York area, and for officials here to ensure that these supplies reach local gas stations as quickly as possible.
As the gas shortages and long lines at local stations have persisted, the problem has begun impacting a huge segment of the city’s population, beyond motorists who rely on their vehicle to get to work or school. Businesses have suffered greatly due to the inability to make shipments or receive deliveries and the inability of their customers to reach them. Equally frustrating is that on major streets like Coney Island Avenue in the Councilman’s district, businesses are complaining that metered parking spaces are now inaccessible due to lines extending along the roadway from a nearby gas station. More critically, residents who need to get to the doctor or hospital for life-saving medical treatment have been endangered.
The shortage has forced the city to divert a large police presence to maintain order at gas stations following several reports of violence between drivers waiting in line at a time when all available officers are needed in neighborhoods devastated by the storm to prevent looting and residential burglaries. In addition, two officers were injured in Bay Ridge after they were struck by a car driven by a man who got into an argument at a gas station there. The shortage has also contributed to a price increase of nearly 10 cents per gallon, created a black market with gas being offered online and on street corners at prices of up to $20 a gallon and led to price gouging by some taxi drivers.
As a public servant who needs to travel around his district by car, Councilman Greenfield is experiencing the same problems as his constituents. Just the other day he made a midnight trip to New Jersey to fill his tank with gas. Councilman Greenfield is trying to use technology to inform his constituents. He is constantly providing the public with updates on local gas availability through his Twitter handle, @NYCGreenfield, and he spearheaded the creation of the hash tag #NYCgas that hundreds of New Yorkers are now using to find gas.
“This situation has gone on for far too long without any real action or answers from the mayor or governor. As the community’s elected representative, I am demanding answers on why we are still in this situation and what exactly is being done to resolve it. Simply put, this is a failure of leadership and we need answers and action now,” added Councilman Greenfield.