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