State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Super Storm Sandy and Gas Issues

As you've probably heard, Superstorm Sandy caused much destruction and shortage of local resource supplies in New York, New Jersey, and other areas. Gas was at limited supply and one of the most important resources for people in the devastated areas. The Ethics Newsline article, "Super Storm Sandy -- 'Fairness' In Realville", by Alan Goodman prompted me to write this blog. Lines of cars ran over a mile at some gas stations. A major ethical issue was how to distribute gas fairly. On one hand it would be fair for gas stations to give no preference and treat everyone equally to be fair. On another hand, it would be fair gas stations to treat first responders as a higher priority. A solution to the problem finally came about as public frustration grew as well as an increasing potential for violence. New Jersey governor Christie, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York governor Andrew Cuomo, came together and decided to base gas rationing on whether a license plate ended with an odd or even digit. First responders were given priority everyday whereas odd and even plates were rotated every other day. This solution turned out to work well as it cut gas lines in half and discouraged inappropriate behavior.

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