After two weeks of gas stations with long lines and drivers with short fuses, the flow of fuel should return almost to normal in the coming week, Long Island gasoline retailers said.
Lines were markedly shorter at most stations Saturday -- the second day of gas rationing imposed in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and New York City. Drivers at a number of locations said they waited in line for 10 to 30 minutes.
Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, said fuel distribution remains backlogged and a terminal in Inwood will be out of service for up to two months because of extensive damage. But more filling stations will receive regular deliveries this week as distributors return to full service.
"To me, it's pretty much over," Beyer said. "It will pretty much be alleviated by this week."
Drivers interviewed Saturday said rationing seemed to be a success. Vehicles with odd-numbered and vanity plates can buy gas on odd-numbered days, and drivers with even-numbered plates, including "0," on even-numbered days.
Many Long Island gas stations still appeared to be closed, but lines were shorter at open stations that a week earlier saw waits lasting hours.
Gene Spellman said business at his Gulf station on Marcus Avenue in New Hyde Park was going "pretty smoothly," despite two drivers with odd-numbered plates who had to be removed from the line by police.
Rationing "really made a difference," he said. "We got the line practically down to nothing. I do see next week start easing up. At least I hope so."
With rationing expected to remain in effect until gas lines return to normal, drivers with even-numbered plates made sure they filled up their tanks Saturday, because they won't be able to buy gas Sunday.
"I thought I was going to run out of the gas," he said.