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Gas Rationing Odd-Even Rule Goes Into Effect In NYC, Long Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The new gas rationing rule that allows drivers to fill up every other day seems to be working as drivers reported shorter lines at stations in New York City and Long Island on Friday.

Police have been at gas stations since early Friday morning to enforce the new odd-even system, which went into effect at 6 a.m. in New York City and at 5 a.m. on Long Island.

1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports from East Harlem


At one station in Manhattan, the line was just a block long. Customers said they waited for only about 15 minutes. Last week, some gas lines in the city stretched for a mile or more.

"So far so good," said one driver. "It's working, yes."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that he would be implementing the rationing rule. He said only 25 percent of the city's gas stations are operational. Some are closed because of power outages while others because they aren't able to get fuel delivered.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Bloomberg said.

1010 WINS' Gene Michaels reports from Old Westbury


Those with license plates ending in an odd number will be able to buy gas on odd numbered days. Those with license plates ending in an even number will be able to buy gas on even numbered days.

Zero is considered an even number and plates that only have letters, like vanity plates, are considered odd.

People carrying gas cans as well as buses, taxis and limousines, commercial vehicles and emergency vehicles are exempt.

On Long Island, there's only one working terminal for tankers to get fuel and nearly 40 percent of gas stations are still without power.

"The terminals in Inwood are severely damaged," said Kevin Beyer with the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association. "The Shell terminal is damaged. They expect that to be down for eight to ten weeks."

WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reports from Levittown


But with the new rules in effect on Friday, many Long Island drivers said the gas lines were much improved.

One woman said she waited only five minutes to get fuel in North Amityville after waiting nearly six hours for gas last weekend.

But not everyone believe the rationing plan is the solution.

"I think it's too little, too late," said Camberry Heights resident Mary Lamberth. "It should have started out from the get-go."

"I can't get through Friday with this amount of gas," said Juan Rodriguez. "I'm really stuck. I don't know what I'm going to do."

"I'm an even number and they're not letting us in line and I need gas to pick up my daughter," said Jamaica resident Lysandra Lopez.

Similar rules have been in place in New Jersey.

The temporary odd-even system will remain in effect until further notice.

See the full list of rules below:


  • Vehicles with license plates ending in an even number or the number "0" can make purchases of motor fuel on even numbered days.
  • Vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number can make purchases of motor fuel on odd numbered days.
  • Vehicles with licenses plates ending in a letter or other character can make purchases on odd numbered days.
  • Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission are exempt.


  • Drivers with license plates ending in an even number will be able to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days and drivers with license plate numbers that end in an odd number will be able to purchase fuel only on odd-numbered days.
  • License plates such as vanity plates that do not display numbers will be considered odd-numbered plates.
  • Out of state vehicles will be subject to the same requirements when purchasing fuel in Suffolk County.
  • This policy does not apply to commercial vehicles, taxi or limousine fleets or emergency fleets, nor does it apply to hand-held gas canisters.

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