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New Tanks on the Way for Island’s Last Remaining Gas Station

Paul Kelly in front of Kelly's Sea-Bay Sunoco station. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Paul Kelly in front of Kelly’s Sea-Bay Sunoco station. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The island’s last remaining gas station – the Lavallette Sunoco – is getting new tanks and must close for a short time period, its owner said.

Kelly’s Sea-Bay’s pumps will be closed for three to four weeks, said owner Paul Kelly. The attached service station and free air pump will remain open, however.

“We’re going to be here for repairs and service, and we get a ton of people here to use the air,” said Kelly.

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The new pumps – a major investment – also mean the Sunoco station will be here to stay for a long time. The island’s only other remaining filling station, the Lukoil in Seaside Park, decided against replacing its tanks and ceased selling gasoline.

“My tanks are tested regularly every year, and they’re fiberglass,” said Kelly. “But the new regulations state that everything has to come out of the ground after 40 years. Mine are 39.”

The new tanks will also be fiberglass, but will feature a “double wall” design for safety. Three 6,000 gallon tanks will be replaced with two 10,000 gallon tanks.

“Now that I’m the last guy on the island, our gas business has increased significantly,” Kelly said.

Kelly's Sea-Bay Service Station, Ortley Beach, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Kelly’s Sea-Bay Service Station, Lavallette, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Sunoco station has a long history of serving the island, its residents and visitors.

The Pew family – the wealthy owners of Sunoco, also known as the Sun Oil Company of Philadelphia – decided to build a summer home in Mantoloking in the 1930s. Their preferred method of travel: a sea plane from Philadelphia to the island. The trip in was easy, but there was nowhere to fill the plane’s tanks for its flight back to the city. So, naturally, a Sunoco station popped up nearby.

Kelly bought the station from Sunoco in 1982. You can read more about Kelly and the station’s history in this Shorebeat article.

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