Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that he would be imposing an odd/even day gasoline rationing system for New York City, and Long Island authorities are following suit.
The rule takes effect at 6 a.m. Friday, but is it going to make a difference?
The mayor seems to think so. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie imposed a similar rule in 12 counties after Hurricane Sandy knocked out supplies and power to gas stations.
Odd/even gas days help to shorten lines and allow gas stations to stay open longer. Cars whose license plates end in odd numbers can refill on a odd-numbered date and vice versa.
The rule will apply to private vehicles but buses, taxis and emergency vehicles are exempt, according to the New York Times.
“This is not a step that we take lightly,” Bloomberg said, “but given the shortage that we will face for the next few weeks and the growing frustrations of New Yorkers, we believe it is the right step.”
In New Jersey, by contrast, Christie said Thursday morning, “I’ve driven around the state the last two days and I’ve barely seen any fuel lines any more. There’s order, there’s plenty of gas.”
But it’s been more than a week since New York was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and it seems odd that such a rule would be put into effect now.
When the storm first hit the major reason gas stations were running out of fuel was not lack of supply but their own power loss and distribution; it was difficult for fuel trucks to deliver the gasoline.
Now that power has been restored to many more stations and most of the roads are cleared, it should only be a matter of time before things went back to normal on their own.
It seems odd to impose the rule now when things are on their way to working out, or at least too late.