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Gas Shortage Keeps Residents in Line for Hours

Some listened to music while others enjoyed a slice of pizza.

When there is not much to look at besides the road to your left and right and the bumpers in front of and directly behind you, sitting in your car for hours can be pretty boring.

But Montville residents seemed to be making the best of it as some waited more than two hours just to fill up their tanks at the Shell station on Changebridge Road.

Mike Dersch, 21, of Pine Brook, passed the time by listening to jazz music. He had been waiting for two hours and was only planning to fill up his vehicle's tank. He said he called a few other gas stations to see what the wait would be like, but figured his best bet was to stay local.

Dersch said he felt people may have been too concerned about getting gas, creating such long lines at the pumps.

"I definitely think people are reacting a little more hectically than they should," he said.

Michele Hauck, 35, of Montville, said she knew what to expect from Tropical Storm Sandy based on both of last year's storms around this time. 

"I was out of power for 12 days," she said of her own home's impact from Tropical Storm Irene. Hauck said she was without power for about seven days following last year's October snowstorm.

Hauck sat in her car for more than an hour waiting to get to the pump, but she was able to pick up a wi-fi signal and was using her tablet device in her car while she waited. At home, she was keeping busy without power as well.

"Our yard is immaculate and I've read about four books already," she said.

Susan Demerjian, another Montville resident, tried to leave the township to get gas, but few stations were open as she looked.

"This is the only place I could find," she said.

Demerjian attempted to prepare in advance and filled her tank before the storm, but wanted to keep her gas level high as a precaution. As she sat in her car for two hours to do so, she accepted the wait she would have to endure.

"It's kind of crazy, but what can you do?" she said.

Others had a more negative outlook on the situation.

"This really sucks," Devoughn Walker, 18, of Montville said.

For non-Montville residents, seeing the Shell station open was somewhat of a relief. Elayne Miles, 54, and her son, Alex Malpelli, 22, drove from West Orange to fill up. Miles said she could not find any open gas stations near her home and decided to "kill two birds with one stone" by first stopping at the Home Depot to buy batteries and supplies and then get gas.

Her first stop at the home improvement store was unsuccessful, she said, as the store had already ran out of all the items she needed. Then she remembered that Montville had a gas station on Changebridge Road. But even when she got in line and was fairly close to the end, she felt little comfort that she would be able to gas up before leaving town.

"I'm so scared they're going to run out," she said as she sat nearly 10 cars away from the pump.

At home, Malpelli said his family was making the best of a situation of days without power.

"We don't have power, we don't have heat. The best place is in bed," he said.

But his mother has continued to cook meals at home without power and even learned a few new things.

"I made pasta on the grill for the first time," she said.

Miles' car was nearly full of gas as they continued to wait, but still she wanted a full tank to be safe. She and her son spent some time together in the car and even ate pieces of pizza purchased from Joe's Pizzeria, which Malpelli hopped out of the car to grab.

Even though Miles and Malpelli had a positive attitude while they waited, they acknowledged the strangeness of the situation they, and others, were in, waiting hours and hours to put gas in their vehicles.

"I think it's not normal at all," Malpelli said.

Read all Montville Patch Sandy coverage here.

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Peter Greendyk November 02, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Go to Valero...they've got a great system and they're moving people along...$50 maximum per can/vehicle, cash only

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