Vince Levine, of the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, got in line with his van at 5 a.m. Friday. By 8, he was still two dozen cars from the front.
Like other drivers there, he was shutting his engine off during periods of sitting but had to restart whenever the line moved.
"I had a half-tank when I started," he said. "I've got a quarter-tank now."
Long lines also formed in suburban New York's Westchester County as early as 6 a.m., when dozens of cars snaked along the breakdown lane of an expressway waiting for gas at a rest stop in Yonkers.
On the other side of the highway, about 30 cars lined up on an exit lane trying to get into a gas station, interrupting the flow of traffic.
In the Westchester County village of Elmsford, lines formed at the few gas stations that remained open. Yellow tape was pulled across driveways of stations that are closed.
In Farmingdale, east of New York City on Long Island, at least four gas stations were closed or had yellow tape around the pumps because they were out of gas.