Diesel is back

AT least one Latrobe Valley petrol station was faced with “upset” diesel motorists earlier this week, as the statewide diesel shortage depleted its local bowser supply.

Caltex Morwell manager Alan Richard said his station, on the Princes Highway, ran out of diesel on Monday afternoon, however additional diesel supplies arrived by 10am the following morning.

“Our customers certainly were not happy, but it was out of our control; we just politely told customers to go to another station,” Mr Richard said, adding the station generally attracted up 200 diesel customers per day. However, on the south side of the Morwell central business district, away from major transport arterial roads, Shell Morwell’s manager said his diesel sales doubled over the weekend period.

“From probably Thursday we’ve seen a boost in customers coming through; we’ve had a couple of trucks come in and mostly tradesmen with their four wheel drives… but we’ll probably see a lull now supplies are coming through again,” the manager said.

While Shell spokesperson Paul Zennaro could not provide detailed information regarding affected station’s within the Latrobe Valley, he said the company’s distribution network teams were working to prevent any regional “black spots” across the state.

Victorian Farmers Federation Gippsland regional manager Ken Bailey said while East Gippsland farmers, currently in the middle of cropping harvest, would be impacted by the shortage, Latrobe Valley farmers, mostly dairy and beef producers, would be less affected, as their hay cutting season was over.

The state diesel supply came under threat last week after a fault at Shell’s Geelong refinery, which supplies 50 per cent of the state’s diesel, halted production.

Production at the refinery is back online, and the company has boosted output in an attempt to meet the statewide shortfall