– 3,200 petrol stations reportedly empty or running low
– PM warns the French not to panic
– Total says 509 of its 2,200 stations empty or running low
– Read also: What can the French do if there's no fuel?
Authorities have tried to quell all talk of any fuel shortages, but 3,219 petrol stations out of 12,000 petrol stations around the country – that's one quarter – had either run out of fuel or were running very low, reported Le Parisien newspaper.
And as the map below shows, it's looking extremely grim.
Photo: Fuel comparison site Essence
Brittany and Normandy
French oil giant Total said 54 percent of its stations in Brittany, 46 percent in Normandy, and 43 percent in the Pays-de-la-Loire region are totally or partially out of fuel.
In Nantes it’s proving almost impossible to find fuel. Posters announcing that pumps are empty greet motorists at almost every station. It’s a similar case in Vannes, where almost all stations are out of fuel.
20-litre limit in place in this station. Photo: Debbie Pedrayes
The departéments of Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d’Amor, and Finistère in the Brittany region and the Vendée to the south, have introduced limits on the maximum amount of fuel that can be bought, allowing only 20 or 30 litres for cars and between 40 and 150 litres for heavy goods vehicles.
Similar limits have been put in place in petrol stations in the département of Orne in Normandy.
Transport worker Russ Goff told The Local from a fuel queue in northern France's Molay-Littry that his job was dependent on having fuel.
“As is usual in France when one group get a grievance everyone has to suffer,” he said.
Photo: Russ Goff
“The government has a history of caving to the unions so the unions know how to get what they want. I work in transportation of abnormal loads. No diesel, no work. Roads blocked. No work. Farmers, truckers, fishermen, fairgrounds, they get a grievance, they block the road, I can't work. I sat on a roundabout in Chalon sur Saone for six days once in a trucker strike. Never did get paid for that week.”
Another reader, Sheelagh Gorham, said that garages were closed in Normandy's Manche département and that drivers were restricted to 25 litres maximum. She added that this had dropped by five litres on Tuesday.
The département reportedly has 38 stations out of action.
Debbie Pedrayes, an expat living in St Sébastien sur Loire (just outside of Nantes), saw queues over the weekend that were 100 cars long.
“I didn't have the patience to wait, but friends and neighbors of mine had to wait on average 45 minutes for 20 litres, maximum, because of the rationing,” she told The Local.
Things are also particularly bad anywhere to the north of Paris.
The city of Lille has been hit hard, Total says 34 percent of its stations the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region are totally or partially out of fuel.
Many living near the Belgian border have crossed into Belgium to fill up.
“We are in the front line of this conflict. Without petrol we can't work,” said Amazigh, a 24-year-old lorry driver, who was filling his tank in the Belgian border town of Tournai.
Of Total's 509 affected stations, 76 are in the Paris region. While things aren't too bad in the centre of the city, the outer reaches of Paris has seen stations closed in Roissy, Orly, Pantin and Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Seven stations were closed in Les Yvelines to the west of Paris, and 25 in Essonne to the south.
The Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, in south central France, has 140 stations closed, according to local media. While the Essence map shows this area as one of the least-affected in the country, it has gotten noticeably worse since since Monday.
In the Rhone département, where the city of Lyon is the capital, there are 16 stations closed.
South of France
Tuesday saw the southern reaches of France getting much harder hit than in previous days.
Motorists in Marseille and other towns of Provence rushed to buy fuel before the blockage of the depot in Fos-sur-Mer began to worsen the fuel shortage.
Motorists are queuing for reserves in the Languedoc Region, particularly in Montpellier, with the city of Toulouse beginning to feel the pinch on Tuesday.