WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States plans to increase its stores of gasoline in response to shortages in New York and other nearby states in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in late 2012, a report on Friday said.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is expected to announce the million-barrel, $215 million reserve build-up later on Friday, according to the New York Times.
The move aims to help shore up energy in the nation's Northeast corridor, which was battered by the October 2012 storm that disrupted gasoline supplies and led to shortages in the area for several weeks.
Some gas stations remained empty and people in New York and the surrounding area were left without gas for their cars and other needs as two major New York-area refineries were shut down as well as 25 regional fuel terminals, the report said.
The shortages led to some of the largest jumps in gas prices in New York's history, despite the state's price gouging law aimed at preventing sellers from taking advantage of consumers amid such natural disasters, and some sellers faced fines.
U.S. senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, had asked the Energy Department to review the situation and find a way to prevent similar shortages in the future, according to the Times.
Representatives for the Energy Department and Schumer could not be reached immediately.
Moniz and Schumer are scheduled to make a statement later on Friday morning.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)