Gas stations have become battlegrounds as theÂ fuel shortage intensifies in the tri-state area, with drivers taking guns to the pumps and pullingÂ out knives at they vie to fill their tanks.
Police and state troopers have been dispatched to deal with arguments andÂ fist-fights at stations along the New Jersey turnpike, and the knock-on effectsÂ are growing.
Many pumps are out of action because of powerÂ shortages caused by Superstorm Sandy tearing its way through the North East ofÂ the U.S.
Motorist Sean Bailey, 35, was arrested afterÂ he tried to cut in line at a gas station in Queens early Thursday and pointed aÂ pistol at another motorist who complained.
Bailey, of Queens, was arrested on charges ofÂ menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, QueensÂ District Attorney Richard Brown told CBS.
He could face 15 years in prison ifÂ convicted. It is not yet clear whether he has a lawyer.
New Yorkers had been using yellow cabs to getÂ around after Mayor Michael Bloomberg sanctioned Â them to pick up multiple passengers.
But taxis are not exempt from the fuelÂ crisis, and city dwellers’ travel options are looking fewer by theÂ day.
‘Gas is like gold’ has become an oft-repeatedÂ phrase on on Twitter, with one young woman saying she would only be using herÂ car to get to work.
Another tweeted that the Hess gas station inÂ Long Island City had closed because of fighting.
‘People are pulling guns’, another userÂ wrote, with others tweeting pictures of long lines at gas stations or reportingÂ fighting before their precious cell phone batteries ran out.
One problem is that some gasÂ stations haveÂ no power to pump the fuel, while others where the pumpsÂ worked were running outÂ as word spread among motorists.
Throughout New York, New Jersey, andÂ Connecticut, gas is running out, and many stations within the city areÂ additionally crippled, as they have no power.
Hundreds of people in need of petrol haveÂ queued up in hopes of buying as many gallons as possible.
Fuel supplies into the tri-state area wereÂ being choked off in several ways.
Two refineries that make up a quarter of theÂ region’s refining capacity are still idle due to power outages or flooding; the NewÂ York Harbor waterway thatÂ imports a fifth of the area’s fuel is stillÂ closed to traffic, and major importÂ terminals are damaged and powerless.
Those in New Jersey who already received theÂ brunt of Sandy’s force formedÂ increasingly long lines at the pumps, toting redÂ plastic fuel canisters.
Many in the state need the gas for both theirÂ cars and to heat their homes, FoxNews.com reported.
Jim Gannon, of the Transport of Workers UnionÂ Local 100, told MailOnline that there were ‘concerns’ over the ability of New York’s Metropolitan TransportationÂ Authority (MTA) ability to keep its busesÂ on the road.
‘Every depot has its own gas tank,Â and aÂ portion of the fleet runs on compressed national gas.’ But, heÂ said, it isÂ unclear how long the MTA’s fuel reserve will last.
‘Obviously, it won’t last forever,’ he said,Â adding that he knows the public transit system has enough toÂ last them forÂ tomorrow at least.