Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today signed an emergency order to establish an odd-even license plate system for gasoline and diesel purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations in the five boroughs. Hurricane Sandy caused significant flooding and damage to petroleum infrastructure throughout the tri-state region – causing refineries to shutdown, pumping stations to lose electricity and terminals in the region to close. Since then, the majority of the region’s pipeline and critical infrastructure has been restored and power has returned to Buckeye pipeline, a major interstate pipeline that serves New York City. As the region’s petroleum infrastructure continues to come back online, gradually increasing the supply of available gasoline, the City is implementing the odd-even system – starting 6:00 AM on Friday – to accelerate the recovery of the distribution network and ease disruptions and wait times for drivers attempting to fuel their vehicles. The Mayor made the announcement today at City Hall.
“Last week’s storm hit the fuel network hard – and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Even as the region’s petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers. Earlier today, I signed an emergency order to alternate the days that drivers can purchase gas, which is the best way to cut down the lines and help customers buy gas faster.”
The temporary odd-even system will remain in effect until further notice, and will operate 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 the storm, 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 permit additional oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter northeastern ports.
Earlier this week, NYPD officers were dispatched to all open gas stations in the five boroughs to maintain public safety, and police officers will remain deployed to ensure order. Violations of the emergency order are Class B misdemeanors. New Yorkers are encouraged to fuel up only when necessary and to use mass transit whenever possible.
A copy of the Mayor’s emergency order is available on www.nyc.gov.