New York City Begins Gas Rationing

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 9 2012 10:26 AM

New York City Begins Gas Rationing

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Residents wait on line to collect free gasoline the day after a Nor’Easter storm in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 8, 2012 in the Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Welcome to gas rationing, New York. 

The procedure began Friday morning in New York City and Long Island as the distribution infrastructure for gas starts to get back on line for the region, according to city officials.

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The rationing, which has no set end date, will follow an odd-even system based on license plate numbers. Out-of-state drivers are also required to comply. According to the emergency order signed by Mayor Bloomberg, drivers with even-numbered license plates or those ending in 0 will purchase gas on even numbered days, with odd-numbered license plates (and vanity plates or plates ending in a letter) able to buy on odd-numbered days.

The city is exempting "Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission." NYPD officers, already at those gas stations that are open in the city, will remain on the scene to enforce the rationing. 

Nassau and Suffolk Counties in Long Island are imposing an identical rationing system for gas stations. And Gov. Chris Christie has already ordered rationing systems for 12 counties in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the city is also reducing garbage collection in areas with little or no destruction from the storm in order to increase the Sanitation Department workforce in the harder-hit regions. The city has also suspended the curbside pickup of recycling until further notice.

And, the New York Post is reporting on another possibly post-Sandy shortage: liquor. Apparently the storm caused massive damage to a major liquor distributor in New Jersey.

But at least the subway's running, right? While the recovery of the underground system is little comfort for those in the hardest-hit regions of the city, the New York Times's piece on the MTA's swift work to restore city transit is a good read.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.