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Troopers Deployed To N.J. Gas Stations As Frustration, Massive Lines Form At The Pump

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- With the traffic nightmare causing frustration for Tri-State area drivers, the lines at the gas pump aren't making the commute any easier.

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Filling up the tank has been a nightmare for area drivers since the storm hit. Overnight and into Thursday morning, drivers looking for fuel were met with incredibly long lines at the gas pump.

"So long as we have power outages to the level and degree that we do, we'll see these gas shortages. It's not actually a shortage of fuel, it's the inability of getting it out of the tanks at a local gas station because they lack power," AAA of Greater New York City spokesman Robert Sinclair told WCBS 880.

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CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano was on the scene along the Jersey Turnpike, where one driver waiting at the Alexander Hamilton rest area in Secaucus told CBS 2 he had been in line for about 30 minutes.

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People fill gas canisters at a Hess gas station on October 31, 2012 in Sayreville, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

"The line was moving along, but all the other gas stations in towns and on Route 17 all seem to be closed up," he said.

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Despite the frustration, drivers appeared to be patient for the most part, although one fight did break out at a gas station in Secaucus, Mercogliano reported.

Officials said more than 80 percent of New Jersey gas stations are unable to sell gas.

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Additionally, New Jersey State Police said they have deployed troopers at all gas stations located on the rest stops on the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

1010 WINS' John Montone reported from the Ramsey-Mahwah border, where he found several stations that were pumping. He Tweeted as he found open stations, including:

Lukoil on Rt 208 in S. Fairlawn

U.S. Gas on Rt 17 in South Carlstadt

Valero Route 17 North between Hasbrouck Heights

Exxon on Rt 17 in Rutherford

Exxon and Sunoco on Route 3 East in Secaucus

"We monitor 2,900 stations in New Jersey and only about 35 percent of them are operating. And on Long Island we monitor about 1,400 gas stations for price information and only about 30 percent of those are up and running," Sinclair told WCBS 880.

Meanwhile, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano has signed an executive order limiting customers to 10 gallons of gasoline.  Spano is trying to be pro- active  to prevent any type of shortage , according to his office.

Also, the Obama administration is temporarily waiving some Clean Air Act requirements in 16 states and the District of Columbia to reduce fuel disruptions from Superstorm Sandy.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says in a letter to governors that extreme circumstances related to Sandy will prevent enough gasoline from reaching consumers.

The waiver lets conventional gasoline be sold instead of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A blend of reformulated and regular gasoline will be allowed in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

The waivers last through Nov. 20.

The EPA also says New Jersey residents can use heating oil in emergency generators and pumps if cleaner diesel is unavailable.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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