Panic buying, police closures and profiteering brought chaos to filling stations yesterday.
Prompted by ministers to fill their tanks to beat a strike that has not even been called, motorists besieged garages and lengthy queues formed around the country.
Prices soared and more than 100 forecourts ran dry. Others were shut on the orders of police worried about ‘fuel rage’. The AA blamed the shambles on the Government, saying the ‘unnecessary and self-inflicted’ shortages were due to poor advice.
Retailers warned last night that large parts of the country could run out of fuel by the end of today if the panic continued.
Some garages had pushed prices well above even the record averages set yesterday of 140.9p per litre for unleaded and 147.1p for diesel.
In places as far apart as Gateshead in the North East and Chorleywood in Hertfordshire, motorists were having to pay an extra 3p to 4p overnight.
PANIC BUYING PETROL? WE'RE MORE WORRIED ABOUT PASTY SHORTAGES
In Wilmslow, in Cheshire, there were dramatic price differences at the town’s four big petrol stations – meaning some saw long queues and others were empty.
Resident Fiona Barrett, 56, said: ‘We’ve got everything from garages that can’t handle demand to those charging a crazy price. The town is well served by petrol stations and normally the prices are competitively close.’