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New York City rations gasoline purchases

8 Nov 2012, 9.53 pm GMT

Houston, 8 November (Argus) — New York City will begin rationing gasoline purchases tomorrow morning in a bid to reduce retail wait times in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and a nor'easter that have disrupted fuel supplies for more than a week.

Energy infrastructure in New York and New Jersey is slowly recovering from flooding and wind damage brought about by the category 1 hurricane, but has been hampered in the last 48 hours by a fresh winter storm. Hurricane Sandy shut down major New York Harbor terminals for several days, cut electricity to pipelines and disrupted operations at regional refineries, reducing the supply of gasoline, diesel and heating oil available to consumers.

The damage has also limited the number of operating retail stations stored with gasoline and left drivers waiting hours to fill tanks according to news reports. Energy Transfer Partners said today 500 of its retail stations shut down without power, but that its system was “substantially up now.” The majority of Hess New York and New Jersey stations reopened using back-up generators.

“The supply situation in New York has been slower to recover, and we are using all of our available resources to provide gasoline to our customers in New York City and Long Island, including shipping gasoline on barges to Long Island from our Port Reading, New Jersey,” terminal, Hess said.

The New York system will allow drivers with license plates ending in even numbers and zero to fill up on even-numbered dates, and those with odd digits on odd dates. Public transportation, emergency and commercial vehicles and taxis are all exempt.

Federal officials last week drew down 47,620 bl from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve and authorized the US Department of Defense to purchase up to 12mn USG of gasoline and 10mn USG of diesel to distribute throughout the region.

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