NJGCA Opposes Congressional Plan to Put NJ at risk of Gas Lines Again

The New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association (NJGCA) released the following statement regarding the just announced proposal that would completely eliminate the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR), included in the proposed government funding plan released by Congressional leaders yesterday. Chief Administrator Eric Blomgren made these comments on behalf of the association:

In exchange for a small amount of money now, some in Congress are apparently okay with risking our state’s future economic security. Eliminating this Reserve will jeopardize our state’s energy and economic security in order to generate what amounts to a few drops in the bucket of a vast spending plan.

The main argument for this elimination seems to be that the Reserve has so far not been used in the decade since it was created. We would just emphasize “so far”. Thankfully, we have not had a repeat of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and the gas lines that followed. Gas lines that lasted not just for a day or two but for over two weeks. Gas lines worsened because the supply disruption increased panic buying and made it harder for deliveries to catch up. I am not aware of any projections for the future that call for lower sea levels and weaker hurricanes.

The small businesses who own so many of the state’s gas stations remember what it was like when they couldn’t get fuel delivered regularly for nearly a month after Sandy hit. There were station owners who went as long as ten days with their power on and no fuel deliveries. Other station owners were getting a delivery, selling out in three or four hours, and closing shop again for days.

Contrary to what some believe, the cause of that gas shortage was not a lack of electricity–it was a lack of supply following significant flooding of the state’s motor fuel infrastructure. That’s why this reserve was created, so that if (or when) it happens again, there is a secure supply that can be accessed to mitigate the problem. Even the knowledge that there is such a supply in the region can help prevent the panic buying that fuels shortages. New Jerseyans had to live with ‘even-odd’ gas rationing for the first time since the gas crises of the 1970s.

We all saw during the covid pandemic the immense problems that can come from ‘supply chain disruption’. We live in a complex economy maintained by delicate links, and this reserve provides some needed redundancy and security.
State leaders know this Reserve is important, that’s why the New Jersey General Assembly supported a resolution opposing an effort by the Trump Administration to abolish it. The resolution passed by a bipartisan vote of 75-0 in June 2018 (AR-76).

I ask that our Congressional delegation fight this attempt to Make New Jersey Vulnerable Again.

The New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association (NJGCA) is a nonprofit trade association that represents independent small businesses in the motor fuel retail, convenience store, and auto repair industries statewide.

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