1970s redux: Odd-even gas rationing to be instituted in Suffolk/Nassau Counties, NYC

Last week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie implemented an odd-even gas rationing system in response to concern about gasoline availability in the wake of Hurricane Sandy:

But the situation there seems to have improved, and the rule may be lifted in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Suffolk and Nassau counties are set to institute rationing of their own, beginning tomorrow morning at 5 a.m.:

Under the system, drivers with license plates ending in an even number, including zero, will be able to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days on the calendar. Drivers with license plate numbers that end in an odd number will be able to purchase fuel only on odd-numbered days. License plates such as vanity plates that do not display numbers will be considered odd-numbered plates.

“This temporary fuel policy will ease the challenges residents of the bi-county region are experiencing in the aftermath of the storm,” said County Executive Steven Bellone. “Our citizens travel between Nassau and Suffolk without regard to county borders and it only makes sense that we adopt a regional solution. I thank my counterpart Nassau County Executive Mangano for working with me to adopt this policy.”

Mangano said Thursday that “until reliable increased supply is established there are going to be odd-even requirements.

In Suffolk County, out-of-state drivers will be subject to the rules as well.

And New York City will follow suit starting at 6 a.m.:

“This is not a step that we take lightly,” [Mayor Bloomberg] said, “but given the shortage that we will face for the next few weeks and the growing frustrations of New Yorkers, we believe it is the right step.”

“We’ll keep it in for a while,” he said. “You know, if you think about it, it’s no great imposition once you get used to it.

“We have to do something,” the mayor added, “and this is something that is practical and enforceable and understandable, and doing something is much better than doing nothing.”

Plenty of people would beg to differ. The Twitterverse is less than thrilled at the prospect of a return to seventies-style gas rationing:

Of course, some crafty folks might find a way around the restrictions:

But it’s worth noting that those found to be in violation of the rules could face up to three months in jail. Lovely.

From his lips to New York officials’ ears.

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