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Kathy Willens/AP/Press Association Images

New Yorkers told to ration petrol

The city mayor signed the order in the hopes of reducing wait times at gas stations.

DRIVERS IN NEW YORK will only be able to buy petrol every second day as a rationing plan was ordered by the city’s mayor this morning.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the emergency notice to establish a license plate system in the hope of reducing wait times and lines at gas stations in the five boroughs.

Gas will be 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.

The system will remain in effect until further notice, his office said.

The move has been taken because of fuel shortages in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy which devastated parts of the city last week.

Police have been deployed to stations to enforce the rationing.

“This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren’t too oppressive and that we can get through this,” Bloomberg said. Long queues had started to lead to panic buying and hoarding.

Buses, taxis and limousines, commercial vehicles and emergency vehicles are exempt from the plan, as are people carrying portable gas cans.

The shortages could last another two weeks.

Residents of the city, as well as those in New Jersey, are also continuing to experience power cuts in their home as a snow storm blasted through yesterday.

Utility companies say they are doing their best to restore services under unprecedented conditions. During Sandy’s peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power.

Earlier today, as many as 288,000 outages in New York and 265,000 outages in New Jersey were reported.

-Additional reporting by AP

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