Petrol stations across Italy have closed for two days in protest at government measures to increase competition in the sector. Of particular concern are provisions allowing supermarkets to sell petrol. Operators say this will send them bust. And while there’s been no panic buying from consumers, for some there was a last-minute race to top up.
One motorist said: “If I manage to fill up before they close I’m ok, but if I fail it’s a problem. I have to go out of town for business tomorrow and the day after. If I don’t fill up I lose the business.”
During the day there were long queues at stations around Rome, as people lined up to fill up their cars to get them through the next few days.
Another motorist said: “It’s certainly right that petrol should be sold in supermarkets but the distributors need to make money somehow. They’ve always gained in the past. Everyone takes care of one’s own interests, don’t they, but if we could buy petrol at a cheaper price it would be better because it’s very expensive.”
The petrol stations will reopen on Friday morning at six am local time. But more protests are planned for the coming weeks – there’ll be fourteen days of strikes in all until April.