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Fuel panic: Woman tries to fill glass flagons with petrol in South Wales forecourt

By This is SouthWales  |  Posted: March 31, 2012

  • The AA estimates that one in five stations ran out of fuel yesterday

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The pandemonium at the pumps is easing slightly today, but thousands of drivers are still rushing to the forecourts and ignoring Government pleas for calm.

The AA says that the numbers of drivers panic-buying fuel has dropped from yesterday, when around one in five garages ran out of petrol and diesel.

But it has still reported several potentially catastrophic actions on the forecourts today as people try and buy as much fuel as possible.

In South Wales, one woman is reported to have tried to fill two one-gallon glass flagons with petrol. The nozzle of the pump was bigger than the neck of the flagon, and the fuel was spilt over the ground.

AA president Edmund King said: "We hope that the weekend will bring back some sanity in this silly situation. It is almost as if the last five days have been one big April Fool come early.

"AA patrols estimate that about one fifth of garages ran out of fuel on Friday. We have also noted that more cars are cruising at 56mph on motorways in order to conserve fuel."

Further AA reports of forecourt madness included an elderly woman in Macclesfield, Cheshire, who tried using a petrol pump to fill up jam jars in the boot of her car.

An AA statement said: "A lady about 75 was seen filling up 20 empty one-gallon paint tins with plastic lids and also a tray of jam jars in her boot with petrol.

"She had her boot up so the petrol station staff couldn't see what she was doing.

"AA staff went over to her to stop her. Then station staff came out and prevented her from what she was doing. Her excuse was that 'her husband did it every week."

At the same petrol station, another man was seen trying to fill up one-gallon washing-up liquid bottles with fuel.

Mr King added: "Some people seem to have lost any sense of proportion. Petrol is a volatile liquid with highly inflammable vapours.

"Drivers should not be filling up any containers with petrol or we will see more tragic accidents.

"Now that there is no threat of strike over the Easter weekend we hope that things will get back to normal.

"There is no need for drivers to continue topping up their tanks as this puts too much pressure on the supply chain.

"Essential drivers have struggled to get fuel as many drivers with second or third cars have followed Government advice and topped up their tanks unnecessarily.

"We plead with drivers who really don't need to fill up to stay away from the pumps. The AA also stresses that drivers do not and should not hoard extra supplies of fuel in jerry cans or other containers. Hoarding fuel is dangerous and is not required."

Some garages have been capping individual sales to try and make their fuel go a bit further, such as a 25-litre or £20 maximum spend on any one purchase.

Other forecourts have introduced 'minimum spend' rules of £35, to try and prevent motorists who have a half-full tank from filling up again.

With the unions yesterday ruling out a tanker driver strike over the Easter weekend, motoring organisations are predicting that the nationwide panic at the pumps will now ease over the next 24 hours.

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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