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Post-super-storm gas rationing highlights EV value

Nissan touts LEAF as gas-free alternative


LONG ISLAND, New York—Vehicle owners in New York and New Jersey have been struggling to find gasoline since super-storm Sandy hit the East Coast. But people with fully electric vehicles are having an easier time charging up and getting to where they need to go.

After Sandy, millions in New York and New Jersey were affected. Offices, homes and subways flooded. Trees tore through structures, and even now with much of the electrical power restored and debris removed, it is not easy to get gas. Long lines at filling stations are forming all across the area, and gas rationing is being enforced.

“I didn’t realize I would be the only one driving for a couple of days and everybody else would be just in a tough position,” said Nissan LEAF owner Varun Bhatia of Long Island, New York.

Bhatia had his 2012 Nissan LEAF shipped from Washington State so he could be among the first in New York to own the fully electric car. He said he bought the car because of the way it drives and feels on the road, but now he has a new appreciation for not needing gas.

“I never thought we would have a fuel shortage because that didn’t happen last year. We actually had a very big storm, more water last year.  And I didn’t realize New Jersey got so hit [during Sandy] that they couldn’t get fuel out of there,” said Bhatia.

But fuel is essential for many who call New York and New Jersey home. Bhatia put 300 miles on his LEAF in the three days after the storm hit, driving to rescue friends who were stranded.

“It made them all realize how dependent we are on gas. Because kids our age, even adults, they don’t realize how dependent we are on gasoline,” said Bhatia.

In times of disaster Bhatia learned that powering-on his Nissan LEAF gave him options that others just didn’t have. He put that mobility to good use.