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PR- 429-12
November 18, 2012


Odd-Even System Helped Stabilize Fuel Purchasing; 30 Percent of Gas Stations Still Not Operating Going into Heavy Travel Week

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today extended the emergency order that established an odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases to keep the system in place through this Friday. Hurricane Sandy caused significant flooding and damage to petroleum infrastructure throughout the tri-state area, forcing terminals and distribution networks in the region to close. The odd-even license plate system – which went into effect on Friday, November 9th – helped reduce wait times at gas stations and helped stabilize fuel purchases throughout the five boroughs. An estimated 30 percent of gas stations in the city still are not operating, and the coming week is historically one of the heaviest travel weeks of year.

“The odd-even license plate system has worked well and helped to reduce wait times and lines at the pump,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With 30 percent of gas stations still closed and a major travel week coming, I am extending the successful odd-even system on gas and diesel fuel purchases to ensure we do not risk going back to the extreme lines we saw prior to the system being implemented.”

The temporary odd-even license plate system, which is extended through Friday, operates as follows:

  • 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.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the City worked with the Coast Guard and the Port Authority to open up ports as quickly as possible – and unlocked more than 64,000 barrels of gasoline to increase the available supply. At the City’s urging, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also issued a temporary blanket waiver of the Jones Act to immediately allow additional oil tankers from the Gulf of Mexico to enter northeastern ports.

The City established the odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases to ease disruptions for drivers fueling their vehicles, and wait times and lines noticeably improved after the system went into effect. To ensure public safety and maintain order, NYPD officers have been dispatched to gas stations across the five boroughs.

A copy of the Mayor’s emergency order is available on


Marc La Vorgna / Kamran Mumtaz   (212) 788-2958


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Download the Emergency Order (in PDF)