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Fuel rationing in New York City extended through Friday

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gasoline rationing in New York City will extend at least through Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday.

The odd-even system based on license plate numbers, launched to help cope with dramatic fuel shortages after Superstorm Sandy, has helped reduce long lines for fuel, but a third of the city's retail stations are not yet operating, the mayor said in a statement.

"The odd-even license plate system has worked well and helped to reduce wait times and lines at the pump," the mayor said.

"With 30 percent of gas stations still closed and a major travel week coming, 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," he said.

Officials will re-evaluate how long to keep the system, under which drivers are allowed to buy gasoline on alternating days, in place in coming days, a City Hall spokeswoman said.

A similar system implemented in New Jersey ended last week.

The region was hard hit by fuel shortages due to power outages and inventory stranded at refineries and terminals that suffered flooding and major damage.

The odd-even license plate system in New York City started on November 9.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, editing by Jackie Frank)

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