|Craney Island as it looked in 1930|
With the Navy's major draw down in the 1920s and early 1930s, far less fuel was needed and many of the tanks went unused. Seeing the surplus tanks, the Philadelphia-based Publicker Alcohol Company, nominally a mass producer of whisky, acquired a few of them to store molasses in 1930. At the time, the company imported millions of gallons of molasses from Cuba with its fleet of thirteen tankers to manufacture industrial alcohol.
With the election of the pro-Navy Franklin Roosevelt as President, the Navy began to rebuild its fleet and the demand for fuel skyrocketed. In 1938, the Navy bought the storage tanks back from Publicker, cleaned them up, and began to use them again as fuel storage. Today Craney Island is the Navy's primary fuel depot for Atlantic-based ships. The facility stores F-76 military diesel and JP-5 jet fuel. According to the Navy Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), the depot can store over 35 million gallons of diesel fuel and 38 millions gallons of JP-5.