Motorists line up for gas on the first day of...

Motorists line up for gas on the first day of odd-even rationing at a Mobil station in Old Westbury. (Nov. 9, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau and Suffolk counties announced Thursday that they are imposing "odd-even" gasoline rationing to ease congestion and frustration at filling stations.

The counties will join with New York City to impose the new system beginning at 5 a.m. Friday, in the wake of a shortage that began after superstorm Sandy hit the region.

Under the system, drivers with license plates ending in an even number will be able to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days and drivers with license plate numbers that end in an odd number will be able to purchase fuel only on odd-numbered days.

License plates such as vanity plates that do not display numbers will be considered odd-numbered plates.

Out of state vehicles will be subject to the same requirements when purchasing fuel in Suffolk County.

The policy does not apply to commercial vehicles, taxi or limousine fleets or emergency fleets, nor does it apply to hand held gas canisters.

"This temporary fuel policy will ease the challenges residents of the bi-county region are experiencing in the aftermath of the storm," said County Executive Steven Bellone. "Our citizens travel between Nassau and Suffolk without regard to county borders and it only makes sense that we adopt a regional solution. I thank my counterpart Nassau County Executive Mangano for working with me to adopt this policy."

New York had resisted imposing rationing. Neighboring New Jersey has used it successfully to reduce motorists' frustration.

Under the New Jersey system, vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers can buy gas on odd-numbered days; even-numbered plates can buy on even-numbered days.

At a news conference Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo indicated such decisions were up to the counties. Meanwhile, frustrated Long Islanders are speaking up about wanting Cuomo and government officials to do more on the gasoline shortage.

With Paul Larocco and Robert Brodsky

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