US & Canada

New York Mayor Bloomberg imposes post-Sandy fuel ration

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Media captionNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: ''Drivers are still facing long lines''

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered number plate-based petrol rationing, 10 days after Storm Sandy ravaged the city.

Fuel shortages since the storm hit have led to hours-long waiting times at pumps, and traffic chaos for commuters struggling to get to work.

Similar measures were introduced in New Jersey on Saturday and will also be enforced in New York's Long Island.

Only 25% of New York's petrol stations are operating, Mr Bloomberg added.

Under the rationing system, cars with licence plates ending in odd numbers will be allowed to buy fuel only on odd-numbered days of the month; cars with even numbers at the end of their licence plates will be allowed to buy petrol on even-numbered days.

"We have to do something, and this is something that is practical and enforceable and understandable, and doing something is a lot better than doing nothing," Mayor Bloomberg said.

But the owner of one petrol station was more cautious. "It's more pressure on us," Ash Gaied said. "They yell. They curse. You wouldn't believe it."

The rule will come into effect at 06:00 EDT (11:00 GMT) on Friday, the mayor announced.

New York City's yellow taxis and emergency vehicles are exempt from the rationing rules.

Sandy - which started as a hurricane but was dubbed "Superstorm Sandy" as it moved inland - struck the US East Coast on Monday last week.

It devastated parts of New Jersey and New York, causing record flooding and widespread power cuts.

Image caption The onset of winter weather has forced people to queue in snowy streets to buy petrol

More than 100 people were killed as the storm barrelled inland across Pennsylvania, and estimates suggest Sandy may have caused $30bn (£19bn) and $50bn in property damage and lost business.

A unseasonably early snowstorm that hit New York on Wednesday has compounded the misery for some residents in the area, who have yet to regain electricity since being were cut off last week.

Parts of neighbouring Connecticut saw more than 1ft (30cm) of snow on Wednesday, and wind speeds of as much as 50mph (80km/h) - and resulted in power cuts for about 300,000 customers.

Are you in New York? What do you think of the rationing? Are you affected by the snow storms in the area? Please share your comments and experiences with us.

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