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Low water level of Rhine causes empty gas stations in parts of Germany

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-11-08 09:47
Petrol pump of an Aral petrol station with a sign at the tap "Out of service" in Solingen, Germany, on Nov 5, 2018. [Photo/IC]

BERLIN -- Several gas stations in Germany had to stop selling gasoline or diesel after running out of gas temporarily, said Stephan Zieger, managing director of the German association of independent gas stations (BFT) on Wednesday in Bonn.

According to the German press agency, a spokesman of Germany's largest gas station company Aral stated that supply shortages caused by the continuing low water level of the river Rhine, one of Germany's most important transportation routes, were the reason for numerous empty gas stations. Inland navigation vessels on the Rhine can currently only transport half as much or even less cargo.

"Such significant supply bottlenecks did not even occur during the oil crisis in the 1970s," Zieger told Xinhua on Wednesday.

According to Zieger, a fire at the oil refinery in the Bavarian city of Vohburg in September further aggravated the supply bottlenecks in southern Germany. "Without the fire in that refinery additional transport capacities would be available," Zieger added.

Another reason for fuel shortages was the behavior of drivers, who would refuel earlier than usual because of fearing an empty tank. This would drain gas stations faster and could trigger a domino effect. "If you don't get any gas at the first gas station, you drive on to the next one," said Zieger. "And that gas station will eventually also run out of fuel."

Persistent rain and rising water levels would be the only possible short term easing in this regard, Zieger added.

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