|Gasoline stations should be required by law to have backup generators so that fuel can be distributed in times of power outages; without power, gasoline cannot be pumped.|
Power outages can be either caused by nature or by man. The great North American Ice Storm of 1998 affecting 4,000,000 customers was caused by record amounts of freezing rain weighing down power distribution lines and trees. The blackout of 2009 affecting 55,000,000 people in the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada was caused in large part by deficient power grid operating practices.
Even if truck fuel tanker transportation is hindered by poor road conditions, the inventory of fuel in underground tanks at filling stations would provide a much improved potential fuel supply after a power interruption.
The very limited number of fuel stations opened during and after the recent snow storm resulted in long gas lines wherever gas stations were open and often required motorists to travel significant distances, wasting time and precious fuel.
There were even reported cases of vehicles running out of fuel while trying to find available fuel supplies for their vehicles and/or gasoline generators.
I spoke with people who traveled from Hartford, Conn. to West Springfield to purchase gasoline for their automobiles after waiting many hours in gas lines.
Such long lines and wasted fuel could have been prevented/reduced with a requirement for emergency power generation at filling stations.
Such requirements for backup generation at gas stations have been the law of the land in Florida & Louisiana; the state of Connecticut is presently considering such legislation, so should Massachusetts.
Liquid fuel (gasoline and diesel) is a fundamental necessity for motorists, emergency vehicles, utility maintenance vehicles, and gasoline emergency generators, especially during and after extreme weather events.
Curt M. Freedman, PE
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