NEW YORK (AP) — With long gas lines persisting more than a week after Superstorm Sandy, New York imposed a gasoline rationing plan Thursday that lets motorists fill up every other day.
Police will be at gas stations Friday morning to enforce the new system in New York City and on Long Island. Gas will be available to drivers with license-plate numbers ending in an odd number or a letter on Friday. On Saturday, drivers with license plates that end in even numbers or zero can fuel up.
"It'll be bad. How am I going to get my jobs done?" said Parris Hancock, a driver for a Manhattan catering company who makes deliveries from morning to night. "I'll have to get up at 4 a.m. and just keep going back for gas and waiting in long lines."
Officials said something had to be done to ease the long waits for fuel, which they say has caused panic-buying and hoarding.
"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg said the system worked well in New Jersey, where lines went from a two-hour wait to 45 minutes after Gov. Chris Christie announced a similar rationing plan.
"We have to do something," Bloomberg said. "This is practical and enforceable and a lot better than doing nothing."
Bloomberg said only a quarter of the city's gas stations were open. Some were closed because they were out of power, others because they can't get fuel from terminals and storage tanks that can't unload their cargoes. One station owner in Queens' Bayside section said the last time he had gas was three days ago.
"Whatever they can do to improve the situation, I'm in favor of," said yellow-cab driver Clee Walsh, as he drove into a BP station on West 36th Street only to discover that it had no gas.
The rationing plan takes effect at 5 a.m. Friday on Long Island, where hundreds of thousands of customers remain without power; and at 6 a.m. in New York City.
Buses, taxes and limousines, commercial vehicles and emergency vehicles are exempt from the plan, as are people carrying portable gas cans. Vanity plates that don't have numbers are considered odd-numbered plates. Out-of-state drivers are also subject to the system.
The mayor said the shortages could last another couple of weeks, worrying owners like Ash Gaied.
"It's more pressure on us," Gaied said. "They yell. They curse. You wouldn't believe it."
Gaied said one gas delivery lasts the station about seven hours, then he has to wait up to a full day for another one. He was answering a steady stream of phone calls at dusk Thursday from people running on empty.
"Yes, sir, we have gas," he told one caller. "No, I don't know how long the wait is."
Officials said the rationing would be across the region, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, to avoid a rush across municipal lines for gas.
"It's important that we stay coordinated because we don't want one county's plan impacting on another county," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "I'm not going to allow any one of them to do something that compromises a neighborhood because we're all neighbors."
New power outages on Long Island caused by this week's nor'easter again left stations with gasoline in their tanks unable to activate pumps. Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said the rationing "will ease the challenges residents of the bi-county region are experiencing" after the storm.
Cuomo said he understands the panic, seen in lines blocks long for gas across New York City.
"The system is coming together slowly," he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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