To cope with the overwhelming demand, some stations limited their services to emergency vehicles only. Other stations only provided gas for people's gas cans, and not their cars. Many gas stations set limits to how much gas each person could pump: maybe $20, or maybe $50.
Desperate residents -- who at least had enough power to charge their mobile devices -- used social media to try to avoid long lines or empty gas stations.
Twitter users in New Jersey created the hashtags #njgas and #njopen to provide real-time information on open gas stations, the length of the line, and any restrictions.
"Bp gas on French street near jersey ave in New Brunswick is open and line is less than 30 minutes," tweeted @johnnymatson.
"This guy turned a blocked driveway into a business opp for those of us in line for gas," tweeted @AmyMJ2, along with an Instagram picture of a man smiling behind a table with two coffee dispensers.
Some Twitter messages revealed that red gas cans were quickly becoming just as scarce as gasoline itself.
Others offered some humorous perspective on the situation: Charles Leone, offered this: "Some perspective. The NYC marathon winner will run the marathon in less time than the average (gas) lines."