Petrol sales soar as drivers ignore calls for calm

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The Independent Online

Petrol sales have risen by more than two-thirds in some areas because of panic buying by motorists, retailers said today.

Petrol sales have risen by more than two-thirds in some areas because of panic buying by motorists, retailers said today.

Queues have built up at fuel stations in the South East and the north of Britain, and some sites have run dry.

BP said drivers' fear of blockades had caused up to 50 of its 1,500 sites to run out of stock for short periods.

Demand was "significantly higher" - up to 70 per cent higher than usual over the last 24 hours, a spokeswoman said.

But she stressed that the company was making extra deliveries and urged people to keep calm, saying the situation was caused by people being concerned and buying when they did not need to.

She said the company was working hard to increase deliveries where necessary, especially in the South East where demand was normally very high.

Shell said there was a "small but noticeable" increase in demand with isolated shortages over its 1,100 outlets.

A spokeswoman said a few sites had run out intermittently but deliveries were unaffected.

Police in Liverpool also appealed for calm as queues more than 20 cars long were seen outside petrol stations in the city this morning.

Merseyside's Assistant Chief Constable Mike Tonge said there would only be shortages if people continued to panic unnecessarily.

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