Gas rationing in NYC continues, tunnel reopens

A line of cars, including several taxi cabs,

A line of cars, including several taxi cabs, waits to fuel up in New York City. A new gasoline rationing plan that lets motorists fill up every other day went into effect in New York on Friday morning. Police were at gas stations to enforce the new system in New York City and on Long Island. (Nov. 9, 2012) (Credit: AP Photo Richard Drew)

Gas rationing in New York City will continue through Friday -- one of the heaviest-traveled weeks of the year -- as nearly a third of the service stations were unable to pump fuel, the mayor's office said Sunday.

But the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is set to reopen Monday at 6 a.m. for all regular traffic except trucks, the MTA said Sunday, another sign of the city's recovery from superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was extending the city's odd-even gas rationing system. It will continue to Black Friday, the mayor said, to help stabilize fuel purchasing because 30 percent of the city's gas stations are still out of service.

"The odd-even license plate system has worked well and helped to reduce wait times and lines at the pump," Bloomberg said. "I am extending the successful odd-even system on gas and diesel fuel purchases to ensure we do not risk going back to the extreme lines we saw prior to the system being implemented."

The mayor's office said that following Sandy, the city worked with the Coast Guard and the Port Authority to open up ports as quickly as possible -- and unlocked more than 64,000 barrels of gasoline to increase the available supply. At the city's urging, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also issued a temporary blanket waiver of the Jones Act to allow additional oil tankers from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports.

Between Brooklyn and Manhattan, meanwhile, the 1.7-mile tunnel, recently named the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel after the former governor, was flooded from floor to ceiling with some 43 million gallons of water when superstorm Sandy struck, and some equipment in the tunnel's two tubes was heavily damaged.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Joe Lhota said reopening the tunnel is "yet another step in restoring a sense of normalcy to the region."

Still, it's not all good news for commuters, as it could be weeks before the R train is up and running between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The line's tube under the East River was severely damaged as well, and the line is running only between 34th Street-Herald Square and Forest Hills, and Jay Street-MetroTech and Bay Ridge-95th Street.

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