Fuel latest: sales tripled in fuel panic

Motorists queue at the Total petrol station on Devonshire Road
Motorists queue at the Total petrol station on Devonshire Road
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FILLING station owners across the Fylde coast say they have sold three times more fuel than expected as panic buying spread.

Queues stretched far beyond the forecourts as drivers looked to avoid running out of fuel ahead of a feared strike by tanker drivers.

Deliveries have reached some stations to re-stock the pumps, but others have had to close off their forecourts as the demand outstriped supply.

Chris Goodwin, manager at Cunliffes New Road Garage, Blackpool, says his garage was forced to close after two days of unprecedented sales.

He told The Gazette: “It was absolutely manic from 7am when I opened and there were eight or nine cars on the forecourt waiting to fill up.

“We normally sell 3,000 litres a day of unleaded fuel and on Wednesday we sold 11,500. It has been like that ever since Tuesday, completely and utterly stupid.”

The Shell Blackpool North, on Talbot Road, also closed on Thursday.

Marie Salamone, manager at the Talbot Road 24 garage, added: “We ran out of unleaded at 9.30pm on Wednesday then diesel at 2.30am Thursday morning.

“It has been horrendous.”

Haulage companies are to meet Energy Secretary Edward Davey to discuss any help they may offer if tanker drivers strike.

Unite’s drivers, who deliver fuel to Shell and Esso garages and supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have called for minimum working conditions covering pay, hours, holiday and redundancy.

Conciliation service Acas says it hopes talks between employers and unions will take place after Monday.

This makes Easter strikes unlikely because the unions have to give seven days’ notice.

However, Redline Garage, on Garstang Bypass Road, Cabus, only managed to stay open by limiting fuel to £20 per sale. Manager Charlotte Bennett added: “We had to start limiting the fuel and it has been very busy since Tuesday.

“We’ve had people rushing to buy fuel and have sold a lot more than we would normally sell.”

Cars were queuing for two miles as they waited to fill-up at the Total Garage on Devonshire Road.

Pete Sutcliffe, 65, from Nathway Avenue, Layton, lives next to the garage and described the scene as “chaotic”.

He said: “Nobody could get through if they didn’t want fuel and drivers were having to do U-turns to escape the queues.

“It’s not necessary. People are panic buying and it’s only going to get worse over the weekend.”