Staff at petrol stations in Italy are on a three-day strike in protest against recent price hikes by oil firms.
Reports claim drivers have been stocking up on fuel since the protest is expected to last until tomorrow morning. Petrol pump owners are believed to have said the rise in energy prices are putting their businesses and thousands of jobs at risk.
The price of petrol in Italy is said to be the second highest in Europe after Holland at €1.836 (£1.60) per litre and diesel the most expensive at €1.739 (£1.51) per litre.
Small businesses have accused the Italian Government of not putting enough pressure on energy firms to cap the prices although the Government claims it has tried.
Economic Development Minister Flavio Zanonato said: “At this time I am asking the oil companies to take into account the particularly difficult situation of the Italian economy and also of peoples’ incomes and to not increase the cost of petrol or to keep the increase to a minimum.”
He added the price rises are mainly due to the increase in crude oil costs.
Earlier this year Italian authorities seized $1.7billion (£1.1bn) worth of mafia-linked energy assets.