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HARTFORD, Conn. -- As if broken branches and power outages weren't bad enough following the weekend Nor'easter that affected states from Maryland to Maine, some consumers are having trouble finding gas to fuel their cars and home generators. The lengthy wait times at gas stations with power and fuel to sell were especially obvious to Conn. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who viewed the lines from above during a ride in a National Guard helicopter, according to a WTNH report.
"We saw a lot of lines for gas stations," said Malloy. "Particularly, I would say stations out in Litchfield, Bristol, New Britain, some other towns, we saw that."
The rare October snowstorm set records and knocked out power for millions of people, and recovery has been slower due to the lack of advance preparation time needed to put extra utility workers in place, U.S. Department of Energy deputy secretary Bill Bryan told the Bellingham Herald.
It's only been about two months since Hurricane Irene wreaked similar devastation on the East Coast, but response time has been slower this time around because officials had more time to get ready for that storm.
"When you know you've got a hurricane coming, part of the mutual assistance package is to pre-stage crews," Bryan explained. "So after the hurricane has come and gone, you already have crews on the outskirts ready to come in and start working ... This storm hit, and these crews were not mobilized."
In the wake of the storm, fuel has become a prized commodity, both to allow drivers to get anywhere in their cars and to let homeowners keep heat in their homes via generator. In Hartford, Conn., so many people flocked to two operating gas stations off of Interstate 91 South's Jennings Road exit that six policemen had to step in to direct traffic, according to media reports.
However, despite the lengthy delays, Gov. Malloy denied any actual shortage of fuel, urging consumers not to overfill their tanks for fear of running out. "It's not a problem of getting gas to the stations that have power," he said. "So, I know a lot of folks are looking at their gas tank and getting nervous."
Malloy also noted that gas stations with attached convenience stores were twice as attractive.
Approximately 1.6 million homes and business remained without power as of yesterday, down from around three million. Some areas may not see power restored until next week.
However, extra utility workers were dispatched to help out, the Herald reported. Department of Energy officials stated that 6,000 extra crews had either arrived in the Northeast or were on their way there as of Tuesday.