Gas rationing reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter era returned to Manhattan and Long Island on Friday, a development that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warns could last for weeks.
The rationing system is an attempt to cut down on the five-hour wait times some motorists have experienced at the pump. Staggeringly, one man says he waited 30 hours for gas. Now, vehicles are permitted to fill up based on the last number or letter of their license plates. Some drivers say the new system appears to have shortened wait times, but not everyone is happy with the new requirements.
“Even? Odd? Whatever it is, Ididn’t have the right one,” said Joe Standart, a 62-year-old artistwhose even-numbered car was ordered off a West Side gas station line by apolice officer.
“Peopleprobably think we can take the subway,” said Teniele Newbury. “But I’ve got threekids I’ve got to drop off at three different schools. You try that onthe subway with three little kids.”
Mr. Bloomberg continues to blame the gas shortage on crippled supply lines. According to the New York City Mayor, “there’s no guarantee that odd-even is going to make a big difference” because only one-third of the city’s gas stationswere even open Friday. But the Energy Department says Mr. Bloomber’s numbers are wrong; over 70% of New York City’s gas stations have gas to sell.
To increase supply, the Environmental Protection Agency and the city of New York have lifted environmental regulations and taxes on tankers docking in New York harbor. Until November 20th, the EPA has waived the low-sulfur requirements for diesel in New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as “clean gasoline” rules across the eastern seaboard.
Whether the rationing and waived requirements will work remains to be seen. In the interim, New Yorkers can expect to experience pain at the pump. New York City motorists are paying an average of $4.14 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, 69 cents more than the national average.