HUNDREDS of motorists have flocked to the petrol pumps of Huddersfield as panic buying takes hold.
Queues at petrol stations across the town again formed today as fears of a new shortage loom.
The move comes after protesters warned of a week of chaos in response to spiralling petrol prices - now above £1 a litre in many areas. High grade diesel at one Huddersfield station is already priced at £1.029
Refinery blockades have been threatened for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, leaving motorists dreading a repeat of fuel shortages in 2000.
John Ettienne, of Holmfirth, said: "I pulled into a service station in Leeds Road this morning and had to join a queue of drivers waiting to fill up".
In Huddersfield, petrol station boss Chris Stern urged the public not to panic.
He said: "We have seen the public filling up more than they normally do over the last few days.
"But the problem of the public going around with full tanks is that it will have an effect on filling station stocks.
"This could leave a lot of filling stations unable to keep up with demand in the short term.
"I would urge the public not to go crazy and try to carry on as normal."
Mr Stern, who runs petrol stations in Paddock and Milnsbridge, believed the hike in petrol prices was reaching an end.
He added: "The prices have been rising for the last few weeks.
"I think prices have now reached the top level and the next move could see them coming down."
Andrew Spence, spokesman for the Fuel Lobby, planning the protests, said: "It's no wonder people are taking to panic buying again, when there is talk of the Government operating a rationing system."
Protests later this week could bring further disruption, with the Fuel Lobby calling on the public to "attend" oil refineries from 6am on Wednesday.
Janet Donald, of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the price rises would hit smaller firms first - with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Campaigners from the Fuel Lobby have given Ministers until tomorrow to discuss their grievances - or face protests. They want to see an immediate reduction in taxation to bring fuel prices down.
The latest rises have driven the average cost of unleaded petrol in Yorkshire up from 81.5p a litre six months ago to 94.6p today - with some garages charging more.
Mrs Donald said: "Over 80% of businesses use vehicles so another rise in petrol prices will have a noticeable impact.
"Larger businesses will be able to absorb the extra cost.
"It's the small and medium- sized firms that will have difficulty adjusting, either by reducing profit margins or, reluctantly, passing these extra costs on to customers."