THE Spanish government is regulating the supply of fuel to ensure availability across the country throughout the coronavirus crisis.
A ministerial order published in the Official State Bulletin on Saturday guarantees that at least one petrol station will remain open in all municipalities which have the service.
The order, signed by Health Minister Salvador, also established that maritime fuel stations supplying the fishing sector will remain active throughout the State of Alarm.
It considers that maritime fuel stations represent an essential service in supplying a primary sector in the food distribution and medical assistance chain.
The fuel guarantee order is also seen as necessary to enable personnel employed in essential services to get to work.
Speaking at a press briefing, Transport general secretary Maria Jose Rallo reported that the demand for fuel was way down due to the health emergency restrictions on movement, prompting concerns this could lead to the ‘disorganised closure’ of petrol stations and leave some areas without supply.
The order establishes three different service station categories. The 4,300 or so which fall into the first category are to keep to their regular opening hours. This refers to the stations which sell more than five million litres of fuel a year due to their strategic location on motorways, dual-carriageways or at hypermarkets or which are linked to the transport sector or hospitals.
The second classification is for stations located in municipalities which are not supplied by those in the first group. At least one with the highest volume of sales must remain open. Opening times can be flexible according to demand, but must be at least 30 hours a week and for five days from Monday to Saturday. Around 14 per cent of Spain’s service stations fall into this group.
All other petrol stations are free to set their own opening times.