A shortage of diesel fuel is stalling truckers in Western Canada, where some fill-up stations are rationing the amount they will sell and others are completely dry.
Every Petro Canada card-lock station in Manitoba was emptied of diesel fuel Thursday afternoon except one in Portage la Prairie, where the fuel was said to be running low.
Geraldine Eberhardt, a truck driver who was able to fill up in Regina, told CBC News on Wednesday that limits are in place at some pumps in that province.
"If it is rationed, they come out and they talk to us right away, [saying:] 'You know you can only put so much in,' " Eberhardt said. "It's all you can do until you get to the next truck stop."
Daily allocations have also been imposed at card-lock locations in Saskatchewan and Alberta, with pumps shutting off automatically when they reach 250 litres.
The lack of diesel has been linked to breakdowns at refineries in Alberta.
Sneh Seetal, a spokeswoman for Petro-Canada, told CBC News that supplies are running low nationwide, but the impact has been felt most on the Prairies.
"Primarily in the industrial sector in Alberta," Seetal said from Calgary on Wednesday. "With the demand growth within Alberta we are seeing this situation in Western Canada."
Bob Dolyniuk, general manager of the Manitoba Trucking Association, said the widespread shortages will have an effect on truckers across the West.
"Certainly [it's] going to impact the bottom line of companies and certainly independent truckers, so there is a concern there," he said. "If it's a prolonged rationing, then we're going to have some very serious concerns."
'There are times when things go awry'
In March, reduced production at an Imperial Oil refinery near Edmonton also caused a diesel shortage in Alberta.
John Skowronski, a spokesman for the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, told CBC News that increased demand for diesel has led to refineries operating at full tilt, raising the risk of breakdowns.
"There are times when things go awry and are unplanned and create inconvenience and hardship for consumers of all kinds," Skowronski said. "It's not something that we as an industry …like, but we need to deal with them."
Skowronski said diesel from Eastern Canada was being delivered to ease the shortage.
Truckers have the option of going to the regular consumer diesel stations, but the cost is much higher, Dolyniuk said.
In Manitoba, there is some hope a shipment of diesel will arrive at a card-lock station on the Oak Point Highway, outside Winnipeg, on Friday.