HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — It is not a question of if the city of New Jersey will shut down its gas station but when.
In a sign that the city is gearing up for a long-awaited gas rationing plan, the mayor said Wednesday that the process is still underway.
Chris Christie has ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to create a new program to ease residents’ access to gas pumps.
The gas stations will not be closed.
The plan will focus on the storage of large amounts of fuel, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene, to prevent people from taking out the gas stations to run errands or fill up their cars.
The city will need to sell at least $50 million worth of fuel a year, or $10 billion a year if the state’s plan is scaled back to a fraction of the amount of fuel it currently sells.
It will be possible to purchase fuel from private-sector dealers or to buy it from the state or private customers.
A gas station owner would have to be a government contractor to qualify.
The move is part of a broader effort by Christie and state lawmakers to address the growing costs of living in the Garden State.
Gasoline and diesel prices in the U.S. have risen rapidly in recent years, rising by more than 10% in the last year alone, according to AAA, a trade group for the car industry.
The price of kerosine has jumped by nearly 20% over the past two years.
Gas stations are still a source of income for many residents.
The average price of a gallon of gas was $2.85 in 2015, according the Gas Biz Association.
That has risen to $3.20 by 2021, according AAA.
The gas stations would be the first to be privatized in New Jersey.
But the state has yet to privatize the fuel tankers that transport gas to homes and businesses.