Good-bye gas rationing; hello better fuel prices.
That’s the sentiment in North Hempstead as residents head to the gas pumps post-Sandy. All the while, they're casting an eye towards Thanksgiving, one of the biggest travel times of the year.
While pumping gas Friday at Great Neck Mobil, Helen Wilson of Little Neck said she was relieved that the crisis had subsided. Her approach during the shortage was to try and wait it out for as long as possible seemed to help her through.
Like many Long Islanders, Wilson said it was that uncertainty of where and when gas would come that was most difficult in the days following the storm.
"The hardest part was not knowing," she noted.
And while residents now welcome short lines and slightly lower gas prices, thoughts of alleged price gouging remain ever-present, just one day after Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced actions against 13 gas station operators on Long Island.
“I thought it was curious that the prices went back down to $3.99 when they were as high as $4.19,” said Laurie Radler, a Port Washington resident.
But Seema Mehta, a manager for two years at Great Neck Mobil, said the addition of extra workers contributed some to price increases during the gas crunch, but it greatly helped ease the situation at the pumps.
"We had traffic coming from Middle Neck Road and Northern Boulevard, so we wanted to make it easy for everybody," Mehta said. "Every time I had the gas, I had to hire somebody just to direct the traffic at the entrance. We are not full-serve, but at that time, we were pumping gas for everybody."
Mehta said during the gas shortage, no incidents of upset costumers were reported at her station.
"We didn't have that problem at all," Mehta said. "That's because we had a lot of guys working. We were quite disciplined."
Mehta said the average wait for gas at her station last week was about 25 minutes when gas was available. Further north in Port Washington, lines were as an hour and 45 minutes, with police monitoring traffic control.
Mehta, whose family owns several gas stations on Long Island, said Gulf was the slowest at delivering gas out to the stations, with British Petroleum being the quickest.
"Once the station got opened up, they were very good at sending the gas," Mehta said, of BP.
Mehta said lines subsided Monday at her station. And like others in the region, she was glad to see the fuel rationing would soon be a thing of the past.
As for any aniticipated long gas lines returning during the heavy Thanksgiving travel, Radler didn't seem worried, adding, "To me the gas crisis is over.”