France faces more empty petrol stations as truckers’ protests rumble on

Scores of petrol stations were running dry in parts of France on Tuesday on the second day of a truckers protest. Although the government insists there is no danger of shortages, motorists were fueling the problem by panic buying.

France faces more empty petrol stations as truckers' protests rumble on
A sign lets motorists know of the fuel shortage. Photo: AFP

Early on Tuesday, the petrol-availability app Essence reported that 149 stations across France had run out of fuel, while another 235 were running low. 

The vast majority of these were in northern and western France, however a few dozen were spread out across the rest of France too (see interactive map below). 

The shortages have been caused by motorists who have been flocking to tank up their vehicles, fearing what may happen if truck drivers continue their strike action against France’s labour reforms. 

And the truck drivers, who are protesting the government's labour reforms, are showing no signs of relenting, vowing to continue their action on Tuesday after police stepped in on Monday to move them on.

The CGT union chief Jerome Vérité told Le Figaro newspaper on Monday that drivers “wouldn't give in to intimidations”, adding that the union members would prefer dialogue over police action.

The Ministry of Transport promised to hold talks with union leaders on Thursday. 

Pierre Auclair, the founder of the Essence app, told The Local on Monday that while there wasn’t actually a shortage of petrol, France could expect “more consistent problems” if the strike were to continue for more than a few days. 

“Since motorists think the strike will continue, they fill up even when they don’t need to.”

His advice to motorists around France was to stick to usual refuelling routines. 

“I’d say if you don’t plan to run your car any more than usual for the next week or two, then there should be no problem. If you’re planning a long trip or need your car more than usual, then you probably need to make sure you have enough. 

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“I don’t see the guys blocking the depot stopping their movement yet, they only just started it it would be strange if they stopped.”

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