Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Rochester one of last places with diesel amid district shortages

Petrol stations in Rochester were swamped on Friday, after district motorists reported trying every petrol station in Bendigo and Echuca-Moama and learning Rochester was the last place with diesel.

ELAINE COONEY December 11, 2012 4:54am

Bendigo business owner Peter Maher travelled from Bendigo to Rochester to find fuel on Friday.

Rochester’s service stations were bumper to bumper on Friday as it was one of the last places in the district to have diesel in the pumps.

The statewide diesel shortage was due to problems with two diesel production units at a Shell refinery in Geelong last week.

Shell spokesperson Paul Zennaro said the production resumed yesterday but was unable to say when things would be ‘‘back to normal’’ for service stations.

Mr Zennaro said there was still diesel in the state as Shell was not the sole supplier of the fuel.

On Friday, motorists reported trying every petrol station in Bendigo and Echuca-Moama but learned Rochester was the last place with diesel.

Rochester’s United service station manager Sudha Kota was run off her feet Friday and the weekend with diesel buyers but the amount of cars refuelling with diesel eased off yesterday.

Ms Kota said United could get fuel so was not concerned about the supply running out during the week.

On Thursday night United bought 15,000 litres of diesel and at 10am Friday with another 18,000 litres but was down to 800 litres by 12.30pm on Friday afternoon.

‘‘It’s been a diesel day today,’’ she said.

She said one woman was waiting two hours in the queue for diesel and the service station received numerous calls asking if they supplied the fuel.

Bendigo business owner Paul Maher travelled from Bendigo to refuel his truck and a container for the following week.

Rochester farmer Dennis Danaher was in the middle of harvesting and hoped the diesel shortage would not continue as his crops needed to be harvested.

‘‘If we get a thunder storm it will affect the crop,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t want to get damage on the grain.’’

Queensland tourist Rosemary Sallway grew concerned as she drove her camper van through Bendigo to discover there was no diesel in the pumps.

‘‘I’m on my way to Tasmania and this (United) is the first place with diesel,’’ she said.

‘‘If I don’t get to Tasmania I will lose my (holiday) deposit.’’

The Rochester Caltex experienced similar queues at the weekend with farmers refuelling tanks.

Unlike United, diesel at Rochester Caltex was not rationed.

Owner Justin Cleary said it was given on a first come first served basis.

He said he was lucky on Friday that a passing fuel truck had diesel supply to spare.

Mr Cleary said he experienced fuel shortage at this time of year before but it was never this severe.

Rochester BP was out of diesel on Friday as was Elmore BP.

Rochester BP was expecting a fuel delivery late on Monday and the Elmore BP received a delivery Monday morning and was almost out by 12.30pm yesterday.

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