Gas Frenzy Hits Verona, Cedar Grove
Residents wait on line for five hours at a time for a few gallons of gasoline.
The number of stations that have supplies of gasoline is running low everywhere in Essex County, including Verona and Cedar Grove.
The stations that have managed to get power and fuel have had lines stretching for miles, with customers sometimes waiting hours for a few gallons.
In a scene reminiscent of the 1970s oil crisis, residents have been sitting in lines stretching around the block for hours at a time.
Cedar Grove Exxon, located at 379 Pompton Ave., opened at 6 a.m. on Friday and lines of cars were already queued up waiting for gas.
“I got there around 7:30 a.m.,” said Verona resident Victor Disanzo. “I waited two hours to get five gallons of gas to fill my sister's car. Now the line has tripled.”
By 1 p.m., the station had a line of cars stretching down Myrtle Avenue and down to Fairview Avenue and required a police presence to direct traffic.
Tom Szybist of Verona waited on line for about four hours to get gas for his generator. With four gallons he can keep it running for about 12 hours, he said.
On Thursday a line stretched all the way from Prospect Corner Exxon, located at 101 Bloomfield Ave and Mt. Prospect Avenue in Verona, all the way down past Quality Car Care Carwash, located at 189 Bloomfield Ave.
“We had to post five policemen at our gas stations because there were over 500 cars in line for gas this morning,” said Verona Police Chief Douglas Huber. “There is a lot going on in Verona, but things are under control.”
That station received a shipment of 88,000 gallons of gasoline and sold it all in a matter of five hours, he said. By Friday, the station was posting signs that they were out of gas.
“This problem snuck up on us,” said Verona Director of Emergency Management Jeff Hayes. “The refineries which are down in a flood area were impacted by the storm with power outages. We couldn't get the crude oil and they couldn't process it.”
The refineries are beginning to get their power back, said Huber.
According to Huber there is no shortage of gasoline, just a shortage of gas stations with the power to pump it.
About 70 percent of the town was still without power by Thursday night on Nov. 1.
“Now we have to make sure the gas stations have power to pump the gas,” said Huber.