Drivers in Italy have been stocking up on fuel, as staff at service stations across the country prepare to go on strike for three days.
Station owners say the shutdown is in protest at recent price hikes by oil companies that are putting their businesses and thousands of jobs at risk.
The price of petrol in Italy is the second highest in Europe after Holland at 1.836 euros a litre; diesel is the most expensive in Europe at 1.739 euros a litre.
Small businesses accuse the government of not putting enough pressure on oil companies to cap their prices. The government says it has tried.
Economic Development Minister Flavio Zanonato made this appeal: “At this time I am asking the oil companies to take into account the particularly difficult situation of the Italian economy and also of peoples’ incomes and to not increase the cost of petrol, or to keep the increase to a minimum.”
The strikes come as holidaymakers head to Italy and there are concerns that the industrial action and the high price of fuel will affect the country’s tourism revenues.
The walkout was due to begin at 22.00 on Tuesday and end at 06.00 on Friday.