The officer who waved her out of line threw up his hands and shrugged.
At an Exxon station in Wall, N.J., Kathryn Davidson was unaware of the start of rationing but beat the noon deadline despite a 45-minute wait in line and an even-numbered plate.
"How are people supposed to know?" said Davidson, 53, who said it reminded her of the 1970s, when a similar plan was in place.
"There were fistfights and everything. It got nasty," she said. "Everyone seems pretty pleasant as of right now."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." Obama cited the need to restore power; pump out water, particularly from electric substations; ensure that basic needs are addressed; remove debris; and get federal resources in place to help transportation systems come back on line. About 2.6 million people remained without power in six states after Sandy came ashore Monday night. About 900,000 people still didn't have electricity in the New York metropolitan area, including about 550,000 on Long Island, Cuomo said. About 80% of New York City's subway service has been restored, he added. The storm forced cancellation of Sunday's New York City Marathon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg reversed himself Friday and yielded to mounting criticism about running the race, which starts on hard-hit Staten Island and wends through all five of the city's boroughs. Bloomberg, who as late as Friday afternoon insisted the world's largest marathon should go on as scheduled, changed course shortly afterward amid intensifying opposition from the city comptroller, the Manhattan borough president and sanitation workers unhappy they had volunteered to help storm victims but were assigned to the race instead. The mayor said he would not want "a cloud to hang over the race or its participants."