More than one in 10 gas stations in France was affected by a fuel shortage on Wednesday, local media reported.
Discount campaigns, supply bottlenecks caused by strikes at refineries, and hoarding purchases by panicked motorists are the main reasons, according to the Ouest-France newspaper.
About 12% of stations have "difficulties with at least one type of fuel" at the pump, with the situation varying by region, government spokesman Olivier Veran told reporters after Wednesday's Council of Ministers meeting. In the Hauts-de-France region, about 30% of stations are affected.
French market leader TotalEnergies explained the supply shortages with "falling prices" at its stations. A discount of 20 cents per liter was added to the government discount of 30 cents per liter at all its TotalEnergies stations. This discount at the pumps led to a large rush, according to the company.
Added to this is a strike at six of the eight French refineries. The strike for higher wages, which began on Sept. 27, entered its second week. This again significantly aggravates the situation at the gas stations.
Veran nevertheless rejected the term "fuel shortage." He said it was only "tensions" in the supply of some gas stations, and urged motorists to avoid "panic."
In order to "restore a normal situation as soon as possible, so-called “strategic” stocks were released in the north today to replenish the gas stations," the prefect of the Hauts-de-France region announced in a press release on Wednesday evening.