At the high end of the range, Sandy would rank as the fourth costliest U.S. catastrophe ever, according to the Insurance Information Institute, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The presidential campaign was back in full swing on Thursday after being on hold for several days because of the storm. President Barack Obama, locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Mitt Romney head of next Tuesday's election, appeared to gain politically from his disaster relief performance.
Christie, a vocal Romney supporter, praised Obama, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent, endorsed Obama on Thursday.
The hunt for gasoline added to a climate of uncertainty as Sandy's death toll and price tag rose.