- Obama has purchased up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel via the Department of Defense
- Drivers complain they are wasting fuel crawling in lines for gas stations
- Some gas stations have been charging as much as $6 a gallon
- Motorists are bickering over their place in line and even brandishing guns
- Yellow cabs carrying groups of citizens around while public transport is down are struggling to fill their tanks
President Barack Obama has bought up 22 million gallons of gas to help get residents of some of the areas worst affected by Hurricane Sandy back on the road.
The administration has purchased up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel that will be distributed in New York and New Jersey to supplement private sector efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Friday that the President had directed the Defense Logistics Agency to handle the purchase of the fuel.
Gas giveaway: President Barack Obama has bought up 22 million gallons of gas to help get residents of some of the areas worst affected by Hurricane Sandy back on the road
It will be transported by tanker trucks and distributed throughout the two states and other communities impacted by the storm.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the fuel purchase is part of efforts by governments, private organisations and others to help the region recover from the Superstorm, which left residents queuing at gas stations for a diminishing supply of fuel.
This purchase is in addition to an emergency diesel fuel loan from the Energy Department's Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.
Large parts of the tri-state area were left without power for five days after the storm struck and fuel shortages have become even more dire, prompting some opportunist convenience store owners to charge as much as $6 a gallon.
Frayed tempers: Armed police tackle violence at a gas station in Brooklyn, after one customer accused another of cutting in line
Don't bother: A "no gas" sign is seen in front of a vehicle that ran out of fuel in front of a gas station in Staten Island
Becoming ever more desperate for fuel, residents have been bickering over their place in the queue at gas stations and even brandishing firearms to get what they need.
Along the New Jersey turnpike cars have lined up for miles in the hope of getting fuel, but gas stations in many outer-borough areas are sealed off with yellow tape.
Meanwhile, in the New York borough of Queens, customers are hanging on every rumour - will the next delivery arrive in two hours? Or five hours? Or six?
In one extreme case, motorist Sean Bailey was arrested on charges of menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Take a seat: Patient customers, some with their own food and drink, wait their turn
Can you believe it? Cans and even buckets lie waiting to be filled with gas
Bailey, of Queens, allegedly tried to pull his white 2010 BMW ahead of another motorist between 2.30am and 3am on Thursday.
Prosecutors say that when a 29-year-old driver complained, Bailey pulled out a gun, pointed it at the victim and said: 'If you don't pull back, you're not getting gas tonight.'
Police found a loaded .25 caliber Phoenix Raven pistol in his left boot, Fox reported.
He could face 15 years in prison if convicted. It is not yet clear whether he has a lawyer.
Traffic queued at a gas station in Ozone Park, Queens, early on Friday, after it was rumoured that a truck was on its way.
Scroll down for more picture on fuel scarcity in USA.
Prepared: Just about anything that can hold gasoline is being used to store fuel
Happy shopper: Not everyone lost their humor while waiting to buy gas
By 7.30am the cars were lined up around two blocks. By 10.30am there were more than 100, engines stilled, drivers out, waiting.
On the forecourt 50 people were huddled holding their gas cans, water bottles, as many containers they could carry or load onto a trolley.
As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promises that fuel-starved areas will be getting relief and 'people will see it quickly', these motorists want gas and they want answers.
For Tiffany Adams, a worker for New York City Transport, Friday was the second day of searching and waiting - and she was not alone: 'I drove all down Atlantic Avenue yesterday and every gas station was closed.
'I've got two kids, a four-year-old and a seven year old. We've got no power, Con Edison is doing nothing, telling us nothing.'
Her anger was echoed by others standing by.
Misery: Drivers get to gas stations as early as they can can to beat the crowds, but the crisis could go on for another week
Drained: Fuel tankers have been diverted to the Port of Virginia, and immediate relief is still some way off
Pushing through: A police officer moves a car that is completely out of gas, trying to position it so it can fill up at a gas station in Brooklyn, New York
Road block: Passing motorists are accidentally finding themselves in line, and getting accused of cutting
'It's all about Manhattan,' said one. 'The mayor's doing a horrible job,' came another and within moments the anger that lies so close to the surface right now bubbled up.
People tweeted asking for information on open gas stations, others tweeted when they found them or moment by moment as they closed.
A Facebook page was set up to track what was open, what was closed, when gas was perhaps being delivered, how long the queue was to get it.
Earl Lucas, 72, had seen something like it before - in the Seventies when, he said, there was 'a real gas shortage.'
He added: 'People are angry because the gas is there they just can't get it. Do you know how to get it? Can you use your influence to get some?
In the dark: Station managers in the borough haven¿t been told specifics, only that they hope to have fuel deliveries by early next week
Shellshocked: New Yorkers are just starting to get their lives back on track after the terrible storm
Wrecked: The fuel shortage is just one part of the challenge facing households across the tri-state area. Pictured, Billy O'Brien stands outside his damaged home in Long Beach
'There were five trucks came in here from a Catholic charity and they got straight through and filled up. Some people can get it.'
Fears are growing that the resentment and frustration felt by some in the queue in Ozone Park could turn into something altogether more ugly unless the problem is resolved.
It already has elsewhere. The police know it, that's why they are here. And the crowd know it. They can feel it.
'People are getting killed for gas,' shouted one guy.
A source from the Coast Guard told DNAInfo that two million barrels of petrol were being unloaded in surrounding ports, and tankers are heading into New York Harbor.
In an effort to expedite the process, Gov Cuomo has signed an executive order to waive mandatory registration processes that tankards are required to pay before they can transfer their cargo to land.
‘I don’t like to waive the tax,’ he said, but added that it was crucial to do to help alleviate the massive shortages in the area.
Country in turmoil: The latest update on the after-effects of Sandy
Vow: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today said fuel-poor areas will get relief quickly
Federal requirements for low-smog gasoline have been lifted, and fuel trucks are on their way to the area, but that does not spell any immediate relief for those most stricken.
Throughout New York and New Jersey, motorists and pedestrians are lining up for blocks on end in hopes of snagging some ‘black gold’.
Yellow cabs queue back 17 blocks on Manhattan’s west side, unable to search for fares because of the dire shortage.
Station managers in Queens haven’t been told specifics, only that they hope to have fuel deliveries by early next week.
Cab driver Harum Prince joined a nearly mile-long line for gasoline early on Friday in Manhattan after already spending three hours in a similar queue in the Bronx - only to have the station run out of gas when it was almost his turn.
Prince leases his cab from a garage for $130 a day; in order to make money, he has to beat that in fares, plus what it costs to buy gas.
And with all the time spent waiting, he hopes he can somehow get fuel and make the money back before he has to turn the cab in at 5pm.
‘I don't blame anybody,’ he said. ‘God, he knows why he brought this storm.’
Lights out: Without power, many gas stations have had to close because they can't pump fuel into customers' cars
Busy: An Instagram user shares a picture of their local station
Limited options: Police tape blocks the entrance to a fuelling station where people wait in line
Serious situation: A commuter cycles past a long line of vehicles waiting to get fuel from a gas station in Midtown Manhattan today
Waste of time: Many of the queues were more than three hours long
Tough competition: Lines began forming today at around 5am
Budget choice: A man squats down to fill up his gas can at a Hess fuelling station in Brooklyn
Everyone's affected: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have been inundated with evocative pictures of people coping with low fuel supplies
Heat seekers: As temperatures begin to drop, people wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell filling station in Keyport, N.J.
Sandy damaged ports that accept tankers and flooded underground equipment that sends fuel through pipelines.
Without power, fuel terminals can't pump gasoline on to tanker trucks, and gas stations can't pump fuel into customers' cars.
New Jersey Gov Chris Christie said on Thursday that President Obama sent 250,000 gallons of gas, as well as 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel via the Department of Defense, the New York Times reported.
But the fuel did not ease commuters’ woes on Friday.
Near a Hess station in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, a line snaked on to fairly narrow but busy streets, causing confusion on the road. Some drivers accidentally found themselves in the gas line, and people got out of their cars to yell at them for cutting.
Vince Levine, of the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, got in line with his van at 5am Friday. By 8am, he was still two dozen cars from the front.
Struggle: President Obama sent 250,000 gallons of gas and 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel via the Department of Defense
Powerless: Drivers are forced to travel to find open gas stations. Many have yellow tape wrapped over their pumps
Anger: State officials have has help from the Red Cross and the National Guard - but it is still not enough
Killing time: Residents of downtown neighborhoods have had to rely on crowded buses or taxis to get around, though the latter may not be an option in days to come
All aboard: Mohammad Ullah fills up his gypsy cab from a gas container while others wait on a line
Heavy work: A police officer, right, helps Jason Bravo push an out-of-gas van into a station in Brooklyn
Which direction? A New York City Police officer directs traffic at a Hess fuelling station in Brooklyn
Some lines are miles long and many have had to stop using their cars because their tanks are empty
Like other drivers there, he was shutting his engine off during periods of sitting but had to restart whenever the line moved.
‘I had a half-tank when I started,’ he said. ‘I've got a quarter-tank now.’
Long lines also formed in suburban New York's Westchester County as early as 6am, when dozens of cars snaked along the breakdown lane of an expressway waiting for gas at a rest stop in Yonkers.
On the other side of the highway, about 30 cars lined up on an exit lane trying to get into a gas station, interrupting the flow of traffic.
In the Westchester County village of Elmsford, lines formed at the few gas stations that remained open. Yellow tape was pulled across driveways of stations that are closed.
In Farmingdale, east of New York City on Long Island, at least four gas stations were closed or had yellow tape around the pumps because they were out of gas.
Fuel rage: A police officer attempts to break up the row amid escalating anger over the gas shortage
Keeping control: The fuel rationing in the tri-state area is having a huge knock-on effect, and police and National Guard troops are now providing security at gas stations
Drafted in: A police officer watches as people wait in line to fill their gas containers after Superstorm Sandy closed most gas stations in Allenhurst, New Jersey
Friction: Residents argue for their place in line while waiting to get fuel at a gas station in the New York City borough of Queens. State troopers have been drafted in to maintain order in some areas
Dispute: An argument starts as men take their place in the line for fuel from a gas station in the borough of Queens in New York
HOW SANDY SPARKED A GAS CRISIS
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.
Mena Aziz, who manages a Gulf Express station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said his station ran out of gas at around noon, after being open for just three hours.
'It’s been so busy,' he told the Daily News. 'That amount would normally take us 24 hours to sell.'
Patrick DeHaan, a senior analyst at Gasbuddy.com, told Forbes that there was no shortage of fuel.
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, both for cars and heating.
Some having been siphoning gas out of cars to fuel generators, CBS Local reported.
Families in Staten Island, one of the hardest-hit communities in New York, begged the authorities to give them gasoline, food and clothing, according to ABC News.
'We’re going to die!' Donna Solli told visiting officials. 'We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people! You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!'
Staten Island officials blasted the Red Cross for not being there when it counted, on Thursday asking when supplies would come.
The Red Cross and the National Guard arrived in the area late on Tuesday, but many have still not had the help they desperately need.
City in chaos: Children play on the ground during the long wait to get to one of the gas stations still operating
Dry at the pumps: A police officer holds caution tape after a gas station ran out of fuel in the Brooklyn borough of New York
None here: A New York City police officer explains to a driver that a gas station on the west side of Manhattan has run out of fuel
A state on its knees: An estimated 80 per cent of the gas stations in New Jersey are closed closed
Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro said on Thursday: 'This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing
'My advice to the people of Staten Island is: Don’t donate the American Red Cross. Put their money elsewhere.'
Jude Labarca, who is staying with his mother on the Upper East Side because power was out at his Staten Island home, said he had to drive to five stations before finding one that had any gas.
After a 20-minute wait, he said he put about $50 worth into his Mercedes convertible at an out-of-the-way Gulf station in Sunset Park, which was only accepting cash.
'The guy in front of me didn’t have any cash, so he was calling his work to have someone run cash over to him. He was holding up the line,' said Mr Labarca, 45.
'If stations don't get some soon, that's really what is going to drive this city to a halt.'
Tarique Shoman, 23, and Diego Diaz, 21, drove from Staten Island to Brooklyn in search of gas.
'I'm pretty p****d,' said Mr Shoman, while sitting at a depleted Getty station in Sunset Park. 'We've already gone to four gas stations.'
After the initial shock of the superstorm, some New Yorkers at least are already back to business.
Hollywood star Bette Midler threw an extravagant celebrity 'Hulaween' party on Wednesday night in the storm-struck city.
Meanwhile, fuel supplies into the tri-state area were being choked off in several ways.
All smiles: A group beam with happiness after they reach the front of the line
Trying to stock up: People line up to fill gas containers at the New Jersey Turnpike's Thomas A. Edison service area, near Woodbridge
All ages: A girl holds jerry cans while waiting in line at a gas station in Hazlet township, New Jersey
Running on empty: A man lifts a jerry can over his head to see if there is any gasoline left at a gas station in Hazlet township, New Jersey
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.
Once gas terminals have their electricity back this weekend, they have a list of critical locations that are a top priority, from hospitals to refineries.
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 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.
Crisis situation: Twitter users have been reporting on the chaos at service stations - when they have any cell phone battery to spare
Power out: Authorities are being tested by dangerously dwindling gas supplies amid massive blackouts
Deserted: Many stations are out of action because they have no power to operate the pumps
Patient: Residents hold containers while waiting for hours to get fuel from a gas station in the New York City borough of Queens
Hanging around: A man talks on a cell phone as he waits with others for fuel in Queens, New York City
Weary: Long queues for fuel formed at this Gulf gas station in Manalapan, New Jersey
Little helper: Kora Ferrone, carries a five-gallon gas can as she assists her father, Chris Ferrone, in line at a station in Toms River, New Jersey
Queuing for gas: A long line of people wait to purchase gasoline for their cars and generators, at a gas station in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Masses: People needing to get back to work in New Jersey queue at a gas station in Point Pleasant
Stressful: Families are stockpiling gas, unsure of when supplies will revive and unable to rely on the public transport system
An MTA representative did not immediately respond to MailOnline’s request for comment.
Earlier, the MTA, which reopened a limited subway service on Thursday, said it had supplies to keep its packed buses running.
‘We are not having any issues with fuel at this point,’ MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. ‘We are still getting deliveries of fuel to our depots,’ he added.
In Gowanus, Brooklyn, drivers fought over fuel at a Getty station. One man, Abdul Rahim Anwar told Reuters he needed the fuel to power a generator that gave him electricity.
Endless: Cars wait in long lines at a Sunoco gas station on the Garden State Parkway in Montvale, New Jersey
Sign of the times: Motorists hoping to fill up at a Sunoco gas station on the Garden State Parkway in Montvale, New Jersey, had no choice but to stop and wait
Congested: Cars queue bumper to bumper as they approach a gas station in Toms River, New Jersey, after fuel stocks were depleted following Superstorm Sandy
Chris Delman, 30, saw a photograph of his house in a local newspaper Wednesday, noticing it was still standing.
‘We ain't living in Seaside no more, that's obvious,’ Delman said. ‘I just want to know what I have left.’
Residents of downtown Manhattan neighborhoods have had to rely on crowded buses or taxis to get around, though the latter may not be an option in days to come.
Across New York's five boroughs and the northern suburbs of Westchester, ConEdison said 659,400 homes and businesses still had no power on Friday though thousands were restored that evening.
Ralph Bombardiere, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, told Reuters that 'over 50 per cent of service stations are not able to sell gasoline and it could be up to 75 per cent.’
Sal Risalvato, executive director of the N.J. Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association, told CNBC that an estimated 75 per cent or more of the gas stations in New Jersey were closed.
Things may improve over the weekend now electricity is back on in many areas.
Filling up: A gas station attendant fills a customer's Jerry cans with gasoline in Hazlet township, New Jersey, after the devastation of Sandy
Though the main oil pipeline from the Gulf Coast, which pumps 15 per cent of the East Coast's fuel, remained shut.
The scarcity of fuel, electricity and supplies made cleanup more daunting for barrier towns such as Seaside Heights, part of the Jersey Shore.
Seaside Heights residents who obeyed the mandatory evacuation order were cut off from their homes.
The entire community was submerged by the storm surge that washed over the island and into the bay that separates it from the mainland.
‘The bay met the ocean,’ said Frank Meszaros, 43, standing next to the closed bridge that kept him from returning home.
Supervision: So many motorists wish to fill up that state troopers have been dispatched to gas stations along the New Jersey turnpike
‘New York City (gasoline delivery) terminals have power problems. For the individual stations, if they have product they don't have power and many, if they have power, don't have any product.’
Zipcar Inc, a car-sharing company that rents out vehicles at an hourly or daily rate, said it would waive the usual charges for the late return of cars in New York because of traffic or fuel shortages.
‘Any members who are willing to wait in line for fuel, we're willing to waive any late fees,’ said Dan Curtin, Zipcar's vice president of fleet operations in Boston.
The firm was offering members in New York and New Jersey discounts until Friday.
Desperate measures: Chris Zaturoski uses a garden hose to attempt to siphon gasoline from his car to use in a generator at his New Jersey house which is without power in the wake of superstorm Sandy
Gridlock: Traffic is gridlocked on the Long Island Expressway into Manhattan near the turn off for the Queensboro Bridge as commuters try to get back to work after Sandy
In New Jersey, power company Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (PSEG) said 780,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity, about 35 percent of its customers, down from 1.7 million impacted at the peak.
On Wednesday, gasoline retailer associations said more than 80 percent of service stations in New Jersey were shut.
At 8am EDT on Thursday on Route 18 in East Brunswick, New Jersey, a Hess facility was the only gas station open for miles.
A line of more than 100 cars waited in the highway's southbound left lane, while dozens of residents on foot lined up on the sidewalk, holding plastic gas cans.
In Hoboken, a New Jersey town on the Hudson River, gas has become an especially precious commodity since it can be used to power the pumping of sewage water out of basements and homes.
At one building, a resident went door to door until she found a neighbor willing to siphon gas from his car to fuel the pumps.