The mayor said the shortages could last another couple of weeks, worrying owners like Ash Gaied.
"It's more pressure on us," Gaied said. "They yell. They curse. You wouldn't believe it."
Gaied said one gas delivery lasts the station about seven hours, then he has to wait up to a full day for another one. He was answering a steady stream of phone calls at dusk Thursday from people running on empty.
"Yes, sir, we have gas," he told one caller. "No, I don't know how long the wait is."
Officials said the rationing would be across the region, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, to avoid a rush across municipal lines for gas.
"It's important that we stay coordinated because we don't want one county's plan impacting on another county," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "I'm not going to allow any one of them to do something that compromises a neighborhood because we're all neighbors."
New power outages on Long Island caused by this week's nor'easter again left stations with gasoline in their tanks unable to activate pumps. Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said the rationing "will ease the challenges residents of the bi-county region are experiencing" after the storm.
Cuomo said he understands the panic, seen in lines blocks long for gas across New York City.
"The system is coming together slowly," he said.
Gormley reported from Albany. Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Verena Dobnik contributed to this report from New York.