Garage forecourts across Greater Manchester have experienced another day of disruption as people rushed out to the pumps to try and fill up their cars.
Several stations across the region ended up running dry amid fears of a fuel crisis..
Long queues started forming early this morning (September 25), despite pleas for people to avoid panic buying fuel.
Some service stations started rationing petrol and diesel, whilst others were forced to close completely after a shortage of lorry drivers hit supply chains for some firms.
Those forced to turn customers away included the BP on Chester Road in Stretford, the Asda in Hulme, Shell in Shaw, and several others.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service even warned desperate drivers not to store petrol at home.
At the Sainsbury’s in Heaton Park, staff geared up for another busy day, after some spent up to nine hours directing traffic on the forecourt yesterday.
During a hectic 24 hours, some even claimed to have been the target for drivers’ abuse as they desperately attempted to keep the peace.
The Manchester Evening News headed down to speak to those patiently waiting for their time at the pump.
One was Omer, a medical student working at Tameside Hospital.
His fuel gauge was so close to being empty that he joked with his colleagues that if he was late to work tomorrow, they’d know he was still out searching for petrol.
Speaking as he finally got to fill up his tank after a long shift, he said: “I work at Tameside Hospital and I tried to get petrol from a station near there but it was closed.
“My tank was nearly empty, I only had five miles left when I got here.
“I’m going to go back to work tomorrow and I told my colleague if I’m late you know why, it’s because I’m searching for petrol.
“I hope things get better soon.”
For the most part, queues on the Sainsbury’s forecourt were manageable – with driers able to move off the road to form queues behind each row of pumps.
Chatting to some of the people waiting patiently revealed a variety of views on the current situation.
One man admitted he ‘didn’t even realise’ there was something going on until his friend sent him a meme this afternoon.
The majority of people seemed confused as to why people wanted to stock up on petrol,.
Ruth, from Prestwich, who was desperate to fill up her car after travelling to a dog show at Tatton Park with a low number of miles available, saying: “It’s not like they can stash it somewhere like you could with the toilet paper – you can only put so much petrol in your car.
“I’ve got no choice but to come fill up, we went to Tatton Park for a dog show today and I wanted to get some petrol on the way but there was nothing there.
“I didn’t want to run out on the way back, it’s not like I’m hogging it I’m on red so I had no choice.”
Omer wasn’t the only person concerned about getting to work, as lorry driver Mariusz from Higher Blackley explained if he couldn’t get to work, that would mean one less driver on the roads.
He said: “I came to fill up this morning but there was a bigger queue so I decided to wait and come back.
“I have fuel for maybe one more day, but if I can’t get to work I’m not going to deliver anything.
“At work it’s alright because there’s a huge petrol tank in the lorry that can last two to three days and we have huge tanks in our depot so that’s not a problem at all, but I still need to get there.
“One company had an issue, the media covered it, and people think it’s a crisis.
“Two days ago everything was fine, and nothing’s changed.
“If you have a full tank of petrol in a car you’re barely using what’s the use? Just share.”
Although the queues were well-managed today, one employee told the MEN the queues was a lot worse yesterday.
They revealed the phone in the petrol station had been ringing constantly with people asking whether they had any fuel.
He explained some customers had become frustrated with him and his colleagues, and had tried to start arguments with the staff on duty.
One member of staff even said he’d had to stop someone trying to fill up a twenty litre container with petrol – as there are rules in place limiting the size of fuel canisters that can be filled on a forecourt.
For Stuart, a self-employed plasterer who lives down the road from the superstore, the panic buying was causing him to worry too, as without fuel in his vehicles he’d be unable to earn a living.
He told the Manchester Evening News : “I’m in here about five times a week, I’ve got several vehicles for my business.
“It’s all just panic buying, but that has an impact too.
“I don’t really need to urgently fill this car but because everyone’s doing it I’m worrying
“I’m self employed so if I don’t get my fuel I don’t get paid and I’ll be living on bread and butter.
“All my work cars are gas guzzlers and I’ve been doing a lot of work down in Leeds so if there’s no fuel I’ve had it really.
“I’ll just try and save my bigger vehicles for when I need to haul a lot of heavy equipment and use my little smart car as much as I can, it’s got a better mileage to it.”
Stuart was the only person we spoke to who admitted to not being in desperate need of fuel – but the third of a tank left in his pickup wouldn’t stretch very far when it came down to travelling him and his gear to Leeds for the large job he had there of re-plastering a church.
Looking at people’s fuel gauges, many of those queueing appeared were dangerously close to an empty tank, after putting off refueling for as long as possible.
Danni had just picked up her sister from Leigh, and popped into the petrol station closer to home to refuel her almost empty tank.
As she drove onto the forecourt, another car cut her up without warning to get to the pump first.
She said: “It’s so stupid, that’s how desperate people are for petrol they’ve forgotten how to drive.
“I’ve just picked my sister up from Leigh and the Tesco there was closed off, it had no petrol.
“I need fuel so I just had to find a station.
“I think people are just being so over-dramatic and think we’ve run out of petrol but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“People just always think the worst, it’s like the whole toilet roll fiasco again, it’s crazy.”
Alan Quinn, a councillor from Prestwich, was frustrated about the root cause of the issue, expressing his disappointment at the shortage of drivers creating a problem.
Speaking as he filled up his car, he said: “I just think when they say don’t panic buy people panic buy, and when they say there’s no shortages and then people see stations closing they don’t believe them.
“They know Boris Johnson is lying through his teeth, this is all him.
“These ministers are incompetent, they’re useless and all Johnson’s boys.
“Kwarteng [Business and energy minister] was warned by Ofgem about the gas crisis and they’ve done nothing about it and it’s the same now.
“There’s a shortage of lorry drivers, they’ve gone home and it’s been made a hostile environment for them and they’ve lowered wages for HGV drivers and here we are.”