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Trade talk: Could gasoline reserves in New York smooth any price spikes?

New York is considering a strategic gasoline reserve in case of natural disasters. Could such a system help reduce gasoline price spikes?
by Adam Wilmoth Published: November 1, 2013
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One year after Superstorm Sandy washed through the Northeast, New York officials are working on a plan they hope will minimize the risk of repeating the fuel shortages that followed.

New York's $10 million Strategic Gasoline Reserve is designed as a pilot program for a larger effort to meet fuel supply issues during natural disasters and other supply disruptions.

Such a plan could help with some fuel disruptions, but it might not be helpful in the event of another Sandy-like storm, said Gregg Laskoski, an analyst at GasBuddy.com.

“In theory, it sounds terrific,” he said. “The problem is that the fuel still has to be distributed. If we're talking about terminals where suppliers can access gasoline, that in theory makes a lot of sense. But it can be problematic as well because that fuel still has to be transported.”

While there were fuel shortages following the storm, the bigger problem in many areas was that widespread power outages left stations unable to pump gasoline from their tanks.

A gasoline reserve might be more helpful with the much more common regional and localized disruptions that often cause price spikes throughout the country.

Oklahoma usually has one of the five lowest statewide price averages. But in late April and nearly May, our price surged almost 70 cents a gallon in three weeks because of fires at large refineries in the Chicago area.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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