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NY Enacts Odd, Even Gas Rationing

Police direct cars to gas pumps outside a gas station in the Brooklyn borough of New York, November 9, 2012.
An even-odd gas rationing system has been put into place in New York City and Long Island that officials hope will ease shortages.

There were few smiles on the faces of motorists when they heard this directive from New York City Hall.

“Beginning 6 a.m., Friday, November 9th, there is an emergency order to establish an odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations in the five boroughs. It will remain in effect until further notice.”

Gas stations in New Jersey began an odd-even system earlier this week in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Lines for gas were up to 1.5 kilometers, with waiting times of several hours at some stations. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he acted out of necessity.

“We have to do something. This is practical and its enforceable,” said Bloomberg.

The long lines boiled over into frustration and in some cases violence. Police were called to some stations to restore order. One gas station owner said the situation was out of control

“I can’t handle myself these people. You know when there is a ton of people, there is a lot of trouble. I don’t know how much I can give them. Everybody starts fighting," he said.

Drivers had mixed reactions to the rationing.

“They all got their gas, they’re calm and happy," said one driver about another group who already had fueled up.

“There’s no gas in Brooklyn," said another driver. "We came into Manhattan to get gas - and a hour-and-a-half you said? No, two hours.”

Only 25 percent of gas stations are open in New York City. Bloomberg said he hopes the rationing will ease shortages and get drivers to calm down.