Please, ease up on the gas!

Queue at Sainsbury's petrol station, Halifax.
Queue at Sainsbury's petrol station, Halifax.

FUEL panic swept Calderdale yesterday, causing pumps to run dry.

Forecourts were crammed and cars queued along main roads as drivers tried to keep their cars topped up.

The run on the pumps came as talk spread of a strike by tanker drivers and Cabinet minister Francis Maude issued controversial advice to stockpile fuel in jerry cans.

The Esso station, Huddersfield Road, Halifax, shut all its pumps as stocks ran out.

Sainsbury’s in Wade Street, Halifax, closed its 12 pumps by 3pm yesterday but was expecting a delivery later.

A Sainsbury’s employee said: “People are just panic buying. There is no need. These problems have been caused by the announcement by the minister yesterday.

“We have been open 16 months and haven’t run out before.”

Pellon Lane petrol station looked the most prepared, despite running low on its V-Power diesel as a delivery was expected yesterday afternoon. The Haley Hill garage, Boothtown, shut down but bosses say that was due to atechnical issue and not because they had run out.

Elsewhere there were huge queues on Keighley Road leading to the Tesco and Morrisons petrol stations.

Andy Clayton, 45, a driving instructor from Bradshaw, said that panic buying is affecting his trade.

“It’s a pain,” he said. “I have difficulty getting any fuel at all because I only have 15 minutes, maybe half an hour, between lessons but you have to queue for so long to get fuel I’ve already dealyed lessons. This is my livelihood.

“If it carries on I’m going to take two weeks holiday.”

Mr Clayton compared it to the last fuel shortage when tanker drivers were on strike in 2000.

“This time has been pathetic - you couldn’t get into the supermarket because people were blocking the road.”

Many motorists were shocked to see the numbers stocking up their fuel tanks and jerry cans.

Peter Sweeney, 51, from Moor End Gardens, Highroad Well, said: “I didn’t expect this. It’s ludicrous.

“I’m here because I need to fill my car up, I’m not panicking - that just causes more of a problem.”

Steph Darnes, 32, Brighouse, only had 15 miles of fuel left when she arrived at the pumps.

“It might be worse with the kids being on holiday next week but that makes it easier for me.

“Having to queue like this is crazy.”

Darren Midgley said on Twitter: “Not sure why people are panic buying. No date has been set & strike action will be less of an impact than protests of 2000.”

AA president Edmund King said: “There is no fuel tanker strike and therefore if drivers followed normal fuel buying patterns there would be no fuel shortage whatsoever.

“We now have self-inflicted shortages due to poor advice about topping up the tank and hoarding in jerry cans.

“This in turn has led to localised shortages and queues.”