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A New York gas station is back in business

Rebecca Li fills her gas tank in Manhattan on the first day of gas rationing on November 9, 2012 in New York City. In Pelham, N.Y., fuel supplies are finally starting to normalize.

In the turbulence of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers found themselves searching for the basics. Dry housing, food and electricity were all in short supply. So was gas. Lines of cars wrapped around city blocks, and many stations ran dry as people rushed to fill up.

Last Friday we called a Gulf Station in Pelham, N.Y., and talked to the manager, Oz Elma, about what it was like to be a gas-less gas station. His pumps had run dry, but he was still open for business during daylight hours, and customers were coming in for coffee, cigarettes and "carbs and sugar," as he delicately put it.

A week on, Oz says his station is finally back to normal, as are many stations in the New York Metro area. But with only sporatic shipments of gas coming in, frequent power outages, and limited operating hours, he estimates he lost 30 to 40 percent of his revenues during the past few weeks. He also says he didn't engage in any price gouging.

"My price was $3.95 [per gallon] like 10 days before the hurricane, it was $3.95 [during] the hurricane, even after the hurricane, I'm still $3.95," says Oz proudly.

He's hoping his loyalty to his regulars will be re-paid in time.

And what did Oz take away from the chaos of Sandy?

"I need a generator."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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