The Mayor of New York has ordered fuel rationing based on vehicle registration plates after the city was hit by its second severe storm in just over a week.Michael Bloomberg announced at a news conference that drivers will be

allowed to buy petrol on alternating days based on whether their licence plate ends in odd or even numbers.It comes as heavy snow fell across much of the northeastern US – bringing yet more misery for hundreds of thousands of people still without power since Sandy hit on October 29.”This is not a step that we take lightly,” Mr Bloomberg said. “Only 25% of our gas stations we estimate are open. Frustrations are only growing and it now appears there will be shortages for possibly another couple weeks.” The rationing plan, similar to one implemented in New Jersey last week, began on Friday at 6am local time (11am GMT).Long Island also imposed the rationing system one hour earlier. Police are at petrol stations to enforce the system. Mr Bloomberg did not say when the measure, which does not include emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and certain other vehicles, would end. People with licence plates ending in a letter are eligible to buy fuel on odd-numbered days. Officials hoped the move would cut queues of increasingly desperate drivers at city petrol stations.

The shortage has created a black market where online sellers are offering fuel at more than twice the industry rate. New York City has been hard hit by fuel shortages since Sandy struck due to power cuts and petrol being stranded at refineries. A second coastal storm, known as a nor’easter, struck on Wednesday bringing snow, rain and high winds and further hampering efforts to get the city’s infrastructure back online. More than 110 people died across the US northeast during Sandy, which began as a deadly Caribbean hurricane before driving into New Jersey .In New York City, authorities reported that the number of dead there reached 41 when an elderly man was found dead in his building. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo estimated that Sandy and its aftermath had caused $50bn (£31bn) in damage, with New York state bearing $33bn (£21bn) of that. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun to move several hundred mobile homes into New York and New Jersey for the tens of thousands forced out of their homes.More than half a million people, mostly in New York and New Jersey, were still waiting on Friday morning for their electricity to come back


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