NY fuels up for emergencies

By Kelly McCarthy

June 12, 2013 Updated Jun 13, 2013 at 12:15 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) New York state could force more gas stations to prepare for emergency fueling situations. The "Fuel NY initiative" will make millions of dollars available to help retail gas stations avoid fuel shortages, which were a major problem downstate during Superstorm Sandy.

All downstate gas stations located within a half-mile of a highway exit or hurricane evacuation route would have to update equipment to accept a power generator, if the measure is approved.

The state would provide up to $17 million for the work.

Joe Mirabito of Mirabito Energy Products said access to gasoline and diesel is one of the most important things to have during an emergency.

He doesn't think Mirabito will be applying for the grant because his fueling stations had very little difficulty during the emergencies here during the 2011 flood.

"I would say it doesn't mean you shouldn't do this, but we need to look at the whole picture," Mirabito said. "So now we have a retail site with power that could flow the fuel, but where is the fuel going to come from."

He would like to see specific guidelines for waivers if a state of emergency is declared.

"So now distributors like myself should know OK he's declared a state of emergency," Mirabito said. "We now know these waivers kick in. Whether it's hours of service for our drivers, whether it's getting customs through Canada or whether its allowing more vehicles across the border in Canada or across state."

Mirabito Energy Products helped deliver fuel from Canada to New Jersey and other parts of New York after Superstorm Sandy.

Mirabito says one of the major issues during Superstorm Sandy was the fuel supply chain.

Suppliers weren't able to reach retail gas stations, so even if they did have power, they had a very limited supply of fuel.

If approved, the Fuel NY initiative would enact the strongest back-up power requirements for gas stations in the nation.