Making a Case against Mandating Backup Generators at Gas Stations

by Hailey Andersen on February 6, 2013

Following the impact of Super Storm Sandy on the East Coast of the United States, which lead to massive power outages and widespread gas shortages lasting for several weeks in the New York and New Jersey areas, some government officials are considering legislation that would mandate the requirement of backup power generators at all gas stations.

Mandating the installation of backup generators at gas stations might just be a costly overreaction on the part of government bureaucrats who seem to have no empathy for the average gas station owner or businessperson. Purchasing backup generators are often prohibitively costly not only for the limited amount of use they will get but also take up valuable selling space and can even be a danger to the owner and his customers.

Initial Costs

No matter the application, backup generators will constitute a significant investment for the purchaser. This fact is doubly significant for a gas station owner who will, most probably, have to observe a wide range of regulations and obtain numerous permits. In addition to the actual purchase, monies will be spent on initial plans, yearly inspections and fines for any non-compliant issues.  Many of these costs will be carried by the private gas station owner and not the gas supplying companies.

Space Constraints

Due to the traffic at the intersections of major streets and highways, these corners are very valuable real estate. Any gas station, located on one of these corners, either through rent or by servicing a mortgage is paying a very real price for every square inch of his property. As such, the station owner must plan to make every square inch pay and the installation of a backup generator likely was not accounted for in their existing plans.

Safety Considerations

All backup generators run on fossil fuel. As such, they can emit noxious and toxic gases if not properly situated. In addition, the permanent backup generators will most likely be housed in a confined area for better security. All these factors, however, add up to a safety hazard for the owner, his employees and their customers. There is simply no reason to subject people to these dangers when a perfectly good alternative exists.

A Better Solution

In the interests of not just being just negative, here is a far better solution to the problem of backup energy at gas stations: rental generators. They are highly reliable, incredibly powerful and eminently affordable. Simply put, they are the ideal solution for a gas station owner that has an emergency or temporary need for backup power generation.

The generator has been an integral and reliable source of power for well over a century. The intrinsic principles and technology are well understood and have been made readily portable. Portable or temporary generators are simply the best answer to any business, including gas stations that need reliable and affordable power at a moment’s notice due to an emergency situation or a short term power outage.

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