Entries in Gasoline (6)


New York City, Long Island Impose Gas Rationing System

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York City and Long Island drivers will have to check their license plates before attempting to get in line for gas in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Beginning Friday morning, drivers with license plates ending in an even number will only be able to fill up their tanks on even-numbered days; those with license plates ending in an odd number can get gas on odd days.  Vehicles with license plates ending in a letter or other character will be able to buy gas on odd-numbered days.

Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission are exempt from the gas rationing system.

"Last week’s storm hit the fuel network hard -- and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.  “Even as the region’s petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers."

With more than 500,000 customers still living without power in the region, many also need the fuel to keep generators running in these frigid temperatures.

"We have to do something," Bloomberg said.  "This is practical and enforceable and a lot better than doing nothing."

"I think that makes sense.  I think that should have started from the beginning.  I think it would have eased up, and you wouldn't of had this these long lines," a Queens, N.Y., driver told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.

The long lines for gas are eerily reminiscent of the dark days of the 1979 energy crisis under President Jimmy Carter -- the last time a gas rationing system was put in place.

Officials said something needed to be done so everyone -- both drivers and people using gas to fuel generators -- can have their chance at a fair share.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Bloomberg said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie implemented a rationing system shortly after the demand for fuel became too great.  Christie has said that the new rules have curbed lines from more than three hours to under an hour.

The rationing system comes two days after a nor'easter blew through the area, knocking out power to those who just got it back from superstorm Sandy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Coast Guard Checking Oil Slick In the Gulf of Mexico

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- The Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil slick near wells operated by Shell Oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy McClure said Thursday that a Coast Guard helicopter has been dispatched to the scene, approximately 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, to check out what has been described as a 10-mile long, half-mile wide sheen.

In a statement, Shell said it is “confident at this time that the sheen did not originate from” its properties, and that a “thorough inspection” of its local assets found that “operations in the area are normal with no sign of leaks.”

“We have also confirmed there are no well control issues associated with our drilling operations in the area,” the statement continued.

“Shell is continuing to cooperate with federal regulators in their efforts to determine the cause and nature of the sheen,” the company said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Non-Stop Atlantic Flights Keep Stopping, Blaming Headwinds

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of passengers on non-stop flights from Europe to the U.S. over the past month have found themselves with an unexpected stop -- an unplanned landing to take on more fuel.

Pilots have had to put down in Canada or elsewhere to top off their tanks after running into record headwinds that have slowed the flights, using up more fuel than expected.

This story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said Continental Airlines has had the most problems. The airline, which has merged with United to form the world’s largest carrier, had nearly 60 diversions for fuel on flights from Europe since early December.  The airline confirmed the number to ABC News.

Airlines are required to carry enough fuel to reach their destination, and an extra amount in order to land at an alternate airport if necessary.

It’s not just the headwinds that are to blame.  Continental has switched to smaller twin-engine Boeing 757s on these routes to save money, and those planes can’t travel as far or hold as much fuel as wide-body planes.  The Wall Street Journal notes that that’s not a problem if winds are calm, but strong headwinds can cause havoc with schedules.

United/Continental spokesperson Megan McCarthy told ABC News that the headwinds have been a “once in 10 year extreme.”  McCarthy said the headwinds in December usually average 35 mph. This past December they’ve hit 54 mph, and on the worst days have been up to 69 mph – twice as strong as usual.

McCarthy noted that most of their 757 flights from Europe – 97 percent of them — did not have to divert. Diversions for fuel, or any reason, are a headache for customers, and cost airlines money.  McCarthy said, “We are looking at it very closely, it is an inconvenience to our customers, to determine if there are other options.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is also checking to make sure there are no safety issues.   In a statement, the agency said, “The FAA is aware that United Airlines aircraft have made more unscheduled fuel stops this year than last year and we are looking into the issue.”

US Airways and American Airlines also fly 737s across the Atlantic, but they’ve had only a few diversions due to the winds.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Delta Airlines has had none.

There have been allegations in the past that both Continental and US Airways had skimped on fuel, as fuel costs have skyrocketed.  Both airlines denied the charges, and no safety fines were levied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Smelling of Gasoline Charged in NY Elevator Burning Death

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A man who walked into a police precinct house smelling of gasoline was charged Sunday in the death of a woman who was burned alive in her apartment building elevator, New York police said.

Jerome Isaac, 47, of Brooklyn, who walked into a Brooklyn police station shortly after the attack Saturday, was charged with murder and arson, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.

Police said he knew Deloris Gillespie, the 73-year-old woman who was killed.

Video from two surveillance cameras caught the attack and show a man dressed like an exterminator waiting outside the elevator when its doors opened on the floor where Gillespie lived.

"It was apparent he knew she was on the elevator," Browne said Saturday.

The attacker stepped in and began spraying Gillespie, who was carrying bags of groceries.  To protect herself, she turned and crouched as the man continued spraying her face, head and body.

She moved farther back into the elevator, but the man, using a thin, flaming, long-stemmed torch, lit a rag that was stuffed in a bottle and set her afire with it.  He backed out of the elevator as she fell to the floor, then tossed the bottle onto her.

Photos of the attacker, released by police, show him in a black jacket and what appear to be surgical gloves, with a white dust mask on top of his head.  He was holding a canister and, from it, spraying a liquid that police have not yet identified.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


DOJ Launches Group to Combat Oil, Gas Fraud

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the creation of a working group to watch for any illegal activity in the energy markets that could impact the price of gas around the country.

The group will keep its eye out for any evidence of manipulation, collusion, or fraud, “to safeguard against unlawful consumer harm,” the Justice Department said in a press release Thursday.

“We will be vigilant in monitoring the oil and gas markets for any wrongdoing so that consumers can be confident they are not paying higher prices as a result of illegal activity,” said Attorney General Holder.

The panel will include Justice Department officials, as well as representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates the oil markets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jorge Barahona Says He Poured Gas on Son While the Boy Slept in His Lap

Photo Courtesy - West Palm Beach Sheriff's Department(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Jorge Barahona described to police shortly after he was arrested how his 10-year-old son was asleep with his head in his father's lap when Barahona poured gasoline over the boy, intending to set him on fire.

Despite that statement, Barahona pleaded not guilty Friday to a fresh charge of attempted murder of his adopted son Victor Doctor.

The boy remains hospitalized with severe burns over his body.

The body of Victor's twin sister, Nubia, was found in Barahona's pickup truck, but he has not been charged in her death.

Barahona, a 53-year-old exterminator, had been charged Thursday with aggravated assault in regard to Victor, but that charge was upgraded Friday to attempted murder.

The suspect failed to appear in court Thursday to face the original charge because he tried to injure himself. He showed up briefly in court Friday looking disheveled in a blue prison jumpsuit.

Investigators say there are "inconsistencies" in Barahona's account of what took place in the moments before police discovered the Barahona and Victor parked along highway I-95 outside West Palm Beach. Barahona was passed out near the pickup truck and inside the truck police found Victor, covered in acid burns and gasping for breath.

According to an updated probable cause affidavit released Friday Barahona "stated he poured gasoline over his head while Victor slept with his head in [Barahona's] lap. Later in the interview, [Barahona] said he held Victor in his arms while he poured gasoline over his own head."

According to the affidavit, however, only Victor was injured.

A judge Thursday ordered Barahona to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and bail was set at $1 million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio