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L.I., NYC Drivers React To Odd-Even Gas System As Officials Explain What's Fueling Crisis

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Officials are hoping the gas rationing system set to begin Friday will bring a little more organized chaos to the lines on Long Island and in New York City.

The gas crisis developed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which left many gas stations reeling because of a lack of power and problems getting deliveries.

LINK: Full Details On The L.I., NYC Gas Rationing System

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said only 25 percent of the city's gas stations are doing business, CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported Thursday.

Delivery terminals were hit hard by Sandy. Many are back in operation, but not enough to keep up with the demand for fuel.

Hours away from the new rules, there was panic for some drivers with even number plates desperate to fill up so they don't have to wait until Saturday.

"I can't get through Friday with this amount of gas. I'm really stuck. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm going to look for more gas tonight I guess," Juan Rodriguez told CBS 2's Carlin.

In terms of Long Island, five terminals supply it with gas, but only one is fully operational. The other four were flooded. Wednesday night's storm caused yet another interruption in the flow.

VIDEO: CBS 2's Dave Carlin Reports From Mobile 2

"You have supply at terminals where the gas trucks pick up their gasoline. The terminals in Inwood have been severely damaged...they're expecting that to be down for 8-10 weeks," Kevin Beyer, of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff.

To make matters worse, tankers from New York City and New Jersey have also been using Long Island's only fully working  terminal, further draining the Island's supply.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said he has begged for generators, but has only received five from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We had received five or six and we went out and opened up those gas stations. We have requested more. As soon as they come we'll do it," Mangano said.

VIDEO: CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff Reports From Long Island

Many area residents seem to be reacting positively to the idea that an odd-even system, even if a temporary fix to mile-long gas lines would theoretically cut lines in half.

"If that alleviates the lines, I think a lot of people are looking for direction as to where to go get gas and when to get it. So if there is some order in that sense, then maybe it'll cut down the lines," one Long Island man told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.

"I think we should have done it a week ago.  It has to be better. At least only half of us can be on this line every day," another woman said.

Eileen Lehpamer of 1010 WINS spoke with "Nick" from Ohio, who found himself and his car embroiled in New York City's gas crunch.

1010 WINS' Eileen Lehpamer Speaks With Drivers In NYC


"I've been waiting three to four hours each time," he said.

However, he said the rationing system is worth a try.

"Give it a shot. Give it a shot -- will people do it? I don't know," he said.

Meanwhile, the rationing system is being well-received by cab drivers in New York City, who will be among those exempt.

"Life is so crazy for taxi driver. Maybe it helps, I hope so," one driver said.

"It's only fair. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg," said another driver.

Also exempt from the rationing system will be those looking to fill up portable gas containers.

Meanwhile, New Jersey continues to operate a similar gas rationing system, which started last week.

What do you think of these new gas rationing restrictions?  Share your thoughts below...

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