CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As New York City joins New Jersey in rationing gasoline in the wake of superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter, here's hoping that West Virginia's gasoline station owners figure out how to make sure at least some stations can pump gas when there is a power outage.
On a related note: It is estimated that 25 percent of U.S. households have no landline telephone. Given this trend and following reports that some cellular and cable systems in the northeast failed after Sandy, here's hoping that service reliability standards are voluntarily adopted. If that doesn't happen, regulators need to step up and impose standards.
After superstorm Sandy brought much of West Virginia to a standstill, I asked state Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt if he thought the state's media missed any storm-related energy story angles.
"The domestic energy argument is there," Herholdt said. "Hurricanes traditionally impact our liquid fuels markets. These markets are supported by imported oil that is shipped by tanker to the Gulf Coast or East Coast refineries. Oil tanker movements and offloading are impacted by weather.
"A focus on domestic North American energy production would reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, create economic opportunities here, and help avoid price swings associated with market reactions to Middle East events," he said.
"Admittedly, without electricity, gasoline stations cannot sell product, regardless of where the oil originated."
American International Group Inc., the giant insurance company, announced last month that it agreed to an $11 million settlement with a group of states over the way it settles claims for life insurance policies.