Gas rationing in New York, Long Island to begin Friday, Bloomberg says


People wait on line to buy gasoline during a Nor’Easter snowstorm on November 7, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The city is still experiencing long gas lines in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.


Mario Tama

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that emergency gas rationing would begin in the city and in parts of Long Island Friday morning, The New York Times reported.

Still reeling from the damage wrought by superstorm Sandy, the New York City area was hit again this week by a powerful winter storm, slowing a recovery of neighborhoods and restoration of services both public and private. Of the city's 800 gas stations, only about two hundred are currently operating, according to the Times.

That's resulted in long, persistent lines at the scarce stations that are supplying gas, prompting the emergency order from Bloomberg to restrict the days private vehicles are allowed to buy gas. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose state was also battered by Sandy, imposed a similar order over the weekend.

Under the temporary order, those with odd-numbered license plates or plates ending in a letter or symbol can purchase gas on odd-numbered days, while those with even-numbered plates can only buy feul on even-numbered days, CNN reported.

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

According to NBC, Sandy "damaged ports that accept fuel tankers and flooded underground equipment that sends fuel through pipelines." The widespread loss of power after the storm also meant the pumps, trucks and other equipment used to transport and dispense gasoline couldn't function.

The rationing measure is expected to be in effect into next week.