Restrictions on the sale of gasoline begin at noon Saturday in 12 New Jersey counties after Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order Friday night.
Power outages have crippled the distribution system and closed many individual gas stations, resulting in long lines of stressed-out customers. NJ.com reports that the situation has echoes of the fuel crises of the 1970s:
The frustrating focus on finding fuel after the storm has been aggravated by the lack of electricity that helps station employees to keep pumping gas. It has also led to lines that meander on down major Monmouth streets and highways, mirroring the remembered fuel crisis of the 1970s. Ultimately, the grim search for gas has pushed the limits of civilians and law enforcement personnel alike, testing people’s politeness in the face of a serious situation.
The rationing ordered by Gov. Christie mandates odd-even fuel sales in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex Union and Warren counties. The last number on a car’s license plate determines which day it can by fuel: odd numbers buy on odd days, even on even days.
NJ.com also reports there are no restrictions on filling up gas cans. The director of a trade group representing gas retailers predicts in the same story that gas distribution will be nearly back to normal by the end of the weekend.
Meanwhile, the federal government is stepping in to help stem fuel shortages with the purchase and shipment of up to 12 million gallons of gas and 10 million gallons of diesel. The AP reports:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday that President Barack Obama has directed the Defense Logistics Agency to handle the purchase of the fuel. It will be transported by tanker trucks and distributed throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm.
With nerves also fraying over the search for fuel in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his own executive order Friday intended to get gas flowing again. Silive.com reports:
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he signed an executive order waiving New York’s requirement that fuel tankers register and pay a tax before unloading. The move will speed up deliver of gas to customers, said Cuomo, adding that tankers are making “great progress” delivering fuel to distribution centers.
The governor said there’s “no reason to panic.”