A key pipeline delivering fuel into the storm-stricken New York area has resumed shipments and barge shipments were slowly returning to normal, offering hope for relief from a gasoline supply crunch that has frustrated the region.
Colonial Pipeline, a conduit that supplies about 15 percent of the East Coast’s gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, said late on Thursday it had resumed deliveries at its Linden facility in New Jersey and began sending deliveries to a nearby terminal.
“Linden operations are relying on portable generators, pending the resumption of commercial service,” the company said. The northern leg of the pipeline, a 5,500-mile network that runs from the Gulf Coast refining center all the way up the eastern seaboard, had shut down on Monday ahead of superstorm Sandy.
Separately oil tankers were expected to begin discharging shipments again after New York Harbor authorities cleared parts of the shipping channels for movement.
Still supplies remain constricted with two major New Jersey refineries idle and key oil storage sites still without power, while thousands of service stations across the region are unable to serve drivers either due to a lack of gas or a lack of power.
Hundreds of cars lined up in mile-long queues were still visible at a handful of working stations on Friday morning, an image that revived memories of fuel shortages in the 1970s. Hundreds of New York’s iconic yellow taxi cabs were off the streets as emergency vehicles and recovery efforts took precedence for scarce fuel.
Officials say that as few as a third of all the service stations in New Jersey and New York City are open.