Gas rationing begins in NY as power outages abate - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Gas rationing begins in NY as power outages abate

AP Photo/Richard Drew AP Photo/Richard Drew

NEW YORK (AP) - A gasoline rationing plan that lets motorists fill up every other day went into effect in New York on Friday morning, as utility crews made some progress erasing outages that put thousands of new homes and businesses in the dark in a region still reeling from Superstorm Sandy.

Police enforced the new system at filling stations in New York City and on Long Island as drivers turned out before dawn to line up for their rations. At a Hess station in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, drivers said it appeared to be working so far.

Luis Cruz, 35, of the Bronx, gassed up the Dodge minivan he uses as a pet chauffeur. "It's a lot better," Cruz said.

"A couple of days ago I waited four hours. They should have done this a long time ago." The line to the station was just a block and a half long Friday morning, and customers said they waited about 15 minutes. Last week, some lines stretched for a mile or more.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday. Only a quarter of the city's gas stations were open, the mayor said. Some were closed because they were out of power, others because they can't get fuel from terminals and storage tanks that can't unload their cargo.

Near a still-closed auto tunnel linking Manhattan and Brooklyn early Friday, cab and delivery truck drivers - exempt from the rationing system - eyed with dismay a line of closed gas stations.

"Hey, when's the gas coming?" one driver hollered, to honking horns. "Tomorrow, we hope," the attendant replied, shrugging his shoulders.

The nor'easter brought gusting winds, rain and snow on Wednesday and early Thursday before it moved on. Snow blanketed several states from New York to New England and stymied recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy as additional storm-weakened trees snapped and more power lines came down.

Thousands of utility customers, mostly in New York and New Jersey, have been left waiting for their electricity to come back on - and some are losing patience, demanding investigations of utilities they say aren't working fast enough. An angry Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined the calls for an investigation Thursday, ripping the utilities as unprepared and badly managed.

"It's unacceptable the longer it goes on because the longer it goes on, people's suffering is worse," he said. Cuomo appears to be all by himself among the New York area's big three politicians. Bloomberg defended the city's power company, Consolidated Edison, and said it has done a good job in recent years.

And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie praised the utilities, saying he expects all of his state to have power back by early Sunday. The utilities have said they are dealing with damage unprecedented in its scope and are doing the best they can. And there is no denying the magnitude of what they have done: At the peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power during Sandy.

Early Friday, there were more than 220,000 outages left in the New York area, mostly on Long Island, and about 250,000 in New Jersey. Almost all Connecticut residents had lights again, down from 625,000 at the storm's height. Still, some people have lived for days in the dark in temperatures near freezing.

"We lost power last week, just got it back for a day or two, and now we lost it again," said John Monticello, of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. "Every day it's the same now: turn on the gas burner for heat. Instant coffee. Use the iPad to find out what's going on in the rest of the world."

The mounting criticism of utility companies came as the Federal Emergency Management Agency started bringing mobile homes into the region and Cuomo said the storm could cost New York State alone $33 billion. New Jersey did not have a damage estimate of its own, but others have put Sandy's overall toll at up to $50 billion, making it the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans in 2005.

In New Jersey, where officials made the move nearly a week ago to institute gas rationing, price-gouging lawsuits have been filed against seven stations. They raised pump prices anywhere from 17 to 59 percent higher during the state of emergency related to the storm, Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said Friday.

Officials in charge of rationing said something had to be done to ease long waits for fuel, which they say has caused panic-buying and hoarding. The system took effect at 5 a.m. Friday on Long Island and at 6 a.m. in New York City. Gas is available to drivers with license-plate numbers ending in an odd number or a letter on Friday.

On Saturday, drivers with license plates that end in even numbers or zero can fuel up. Buses, taxes and limousines, commercial vehicles and emergency vehicles are exempt from the plan, as are people carrying portable gas cans. Vanity plates that don't have numbers are considered odd-numbered plates. Out-of-state drivers are also subject to the system. Bloomberg said the shortages could last another couple of weeks.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Mother of autistic sons awaits medical marijuana

    Mother of autistic sons awaits medical marijuana

    Medical marijuana was supposed to be available in Louisiana next month, but the manual isn't done and the production facility is still under renovation. (Source: Flickr Commons)Medical marijuana was supposed to be available in Louisiana next month, but the manual isn't done and the production facility is still under renovation. (Source: Flickr Commons)

    Louisiana residents awaiting access to medical marijuana will have to wait a little longer. 

    more>>

    Louisiana residents awaiting access to medical marijuana will have to wait a little longer. 

    more>>
  • Saints TE Ben Watson stays steady

    Saints TE Ben Watson stays steady

    Ben Watson remains steady for Saints (Source: Mark LaGrange)Ben Watson remains steady for Saints (Source: Mark LaGrange)
    Ben Watson remains steady for Saints (Source: Mark LaGrange)Ben Watson remains steady for Saints (Source: Mark LaGrange)
    For tight end Ben Watson it's season #15. But he admitted he didn't know if he was going to get there. " I would say that at the end of last year I was very unsure if I was going to continue playing," Watson said." I knew that if I did play there only a very small number of places that I'd consider going.  One of those teams were the saints..because it was here where Watson had the best statistical season of his career in 2015... " There's a combinatio...more>>
    For tight end Ben Watson it's season #15. But he admitted he didn't know if he was going to get there. " I would say that at the end of last year I was very unsure if I was going to continue playing," Watson said." I knew that if I did play there only a very small number of places that I'd consider going.  One of those teams were the saints..because it was here where Watson had the best statistical season of his career in 2015... " There's a combinatio...more>>
  • Coach Payton 'anticipates' Marcus Davenport playing against the Chargers

    Coach Payton 'anticipates' Marcus Davenport playing against the Chargers

    Marcus Davenport has been nursing a groin injury. Source: Nola.comMarcus Davenport has been nursing a groin injury. Source: Nola.com
    Marcus Davenport has been nursing a groin injury. Source: Nola.comMarcus Davenport has been nursing a groin injury. Source: Nola.com

    First-round draft pick Marcus Davenport missed almost three weeks of action during Saints training camp. This weekend, Davenport was back at practice, and all signs point to the rookie playing against the Chargers this Saturday. "The assignment, he'll know. He's been practicing in the meetings. It's just making sure he's 100 percent. But I anticipate that happening this week. I anticipate him being able to work this week and get some playing time," said Sean Payton. The Un...

    more>>

    First-round draft pick Marcus Davenport missed almost three weeks of action during Saints training camp. This weekend, Davenport was back at practice, and all signs point to the rookie playing against the Chargers this Saturday. "The assignment, he'll know. He's been practicing in the meetings. It's just making sure he's 100 percent. But I anticipate that happening this week. I anticipate him being able to work this week and get some playing time," said Sean Payton. The Un...

    more>>
Powered by Frankly