NEW YORK | More New Yorkers got power Saturday for the first time since Superstorm Sandy struck the region, but frustrations mounted over gasoline shortages as refueling sites turned into traffic jams of horn-honking confusion.
Gas rationing went into effect in northern New Jersey, while crowds lined up at free fuel distribution sites in New York's boroughs, where a limit of 10 gallons per person was imposed. New York officials then said emergency vehicles had the priority over the public.
"It's chaos, pandemonium out here," said Chris Damon, whose family was displaced from his home in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway and are staying with relatives in Brooklyn. He circled the block for 3½ hours at the Brooklyn Armory, where the National Guard was directing traffic.
"It's ridiculous. No one knows what's going on," he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced that the 5,000-gallon trucks from the Defense Department would set up the emergency mobile gas stations at five locations around the New York City metropolitan area.
"Do not panic. I know there is anxiety about fuel," he said.
After the long lines formed, New York state officials said the public should stay away from the refueling stations until emergency responders first got their gas and more supplies are then made available.
As gas rationing went into effect at noon in northern New Jersey, police began enforcing rules to allow only motorists with odd-numbered license plates to refuel. Those with even-numbered plates must wait until Sunday.
In Washington, President Barack Obama visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an update on superstorm recovery efforts and said "there's nothing more important than us getting this right."
"Obviously we've now seen that after the initial search and rescue, the recovery process is difficult and it's painful," Obama said. "But I'm confident that we will continue to make progress as long as state and local and federal officials stay focused."