Gas rationing begins in New York City

Nov. 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Gas rationing in New York City, which began Friday, did not appear to be sending drivers out of the city to fuel up, an unscientific survey found.

The New York Times reported calling 10 stations in Westchester and Rockland counties, north of the city. Managers at five stations reported short or no lines while the other five had no gas.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would allow cities and counties to make their own decisions on instituting an odd-even rationing system with state agencies ensuring they work together. In addition to the city, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island began rationing Friday.

The new rules let cars fuel up only if the last number of the license plate matches the day's date -- even-numbered license plates on even-numbered days and odd-numbered on odd days.

Plates ending with a letter are considered odd-numbered. People filling up gas cans are not affected -- nor are buses, taxis and emergency vehicles, officials said.

New Jersey began gas rationing Saturday.

"This is not a step that we take lightly," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "But given the shortages we will face over the next few weeks, and the growing frustrations of New Yorkers, we believe it is the right step."

Bloomberg said only about a quarter of the city's roughly 800 gas stations were open at any given time, adding the fuel shortage could last several more weeks.

Gasbuddy.com said nearly 70 percent of Long Island gas stations were empty.

Federal, state and local efforts to resolve the gasoline crisis were set back by Wednesday's nor'easter, officials said. The storm temporarily halted efforts to repair oil and gasoline terminals and prevented barges carrying fuel from reaching their docks, The New York Times said.

The major utilities said 761,000 customers were still without power, down from 8.5 million shortly after Sandy hit 10 days ago.

Two major New York-area tunnels were to reopen Friday -- one for cars and the other for trains.

The 72-year-old twin-tube Queens-Midtown Tunnel, a highway tunnel crossing under the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, reopened Friday.

The 62-year-old Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which at one point had water up to its ceiling, remained closed with no reopening date. That twin-tube tunnel crosses under the East River between Manhattan and the borough of Brooklyn.

Amtrak said it expects that by the end of Friday it would reopen a flooded commuter-rail tunnel under the Hudson River to let New Jersey Transit trains get to New York's Pennsylvania Station, a major intercity train station and commuter rail hub normally serving more than 300,000 passengers a day.

Amtrak and New Jersey Transit have been using just one Hudson River tunnel since Nov. 2 after Sandy flooded the second tunnel.

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