Gas lines return ahead of blizzard

gas lines blizzard 2
A pump at a Long Island, N.Y., gas station that ran out of gas Friday in advance of the blizzard due to hit the area.

Gas lines were building again in the New York area ahead of this weekend's blizzard.

Fairfield, N.J., resident Brelyn Kirk said she saw one gas line in nearby River Edge that stretched for a mile.

"I was shocked because the storm really wasn't that bad," she said. She drove around for an hour looking for a station without a long line. "I had a little deja vu back to the time after Sandy."

Experts say the lines are a result of panic buying caused by those bad memories of Superstorm Sandy rather than any likely gas shortages.

Some gas stations were running out of gas, particularly in New Jersey on New York's Long Island, where prolonged power outages following Sandy made gas a difficult-to-find commodity for a couple of weeks.

Related: Check out gas prices in your state

"It's a Sandy hangover, that's a good name for it," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association, the trade group for gas station owners. "Everybody is in a panic because of the last storm."

But Risalvato and other experts said people need not worry about prolonged shortages like the ones after Sandy that led to periods of gas rationing.

"Last time there was damage at the distribution system," he said. "Any delivery interruptions will be very short term, I'm talking hours."

Related: Why gas prices are rising

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said the storm is actually likely to create excess supplies of gas in the affected area by keeping people off the roads and thus suppressing demand. But he said memories of the last storm are probably causing more topping-off than usual, and some short-term shortages.

"A typical station has 15,000 gallons or so. If you have 1,000 cars filling up, it can run out fairly quickly," he said. "But it's just bad behavior."

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