Gasoline purchases restricted in New York

Nov. 9, 2012 at 8:33 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg imposed a gasoline and diesel rationing system for commuters in response to an energy crisis following Hurricane Sandy.

"Last week's storm hit the fuel network hard and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Even as the region's petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers."

Sandy, a late October storm that hit the U.S. East Coast as a Category 1 hurricane, left more than 100 dead in its wake and crippled the region's energy infrastructure. Motor group AAA reports New York City residents paid, on average, $4.14 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, up 15 cents from last week and 69 cents higher than the national average.

Bloomberg's response comes despite waivers issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for restrictions on certain gasoline blends in order to ensure adequate fuel supplies for the region.

Bloomberg said the hurricane caused major damage to petroleum infrastructure in the region, leading to refinery shut downs and a brief closure of the interstate Buckeye pipeline. Bloomberg added that New York City police were dispatched to gasoline stations to maintain order.

The restrictions on gasoline purchases, his office said, would remain in effect until further notice. Commercial and emergency vehicles are exempt from the restrictions.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also eased restrictions on fuel.

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