Gasoline flowing again in Elliot Lake, Ont.
Gasoline is flowing again in a northern Ontario community that ran dry on Wednesday due to an on-going fuel shortage that has affected close to 100 gas stations province-wide.
Drivers in Elliot Lake are getting in line at the only working gas station in the city. Fuel was delivered to the station after it ran dry, forcing drivers to travel nearly 60 kilometres to the Town of Blind River to fill their tanks.
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The fuel delivery was promised by Imperial Oil, which is struggling with supply problems due to two recent fires at company refineries. The problem has been made worse by the on-going CN Rail strike, which has slowed Imperial's ability to transport gasoline and diesel.
Imperial Oil operates 400 Esso gas stations in Ontario. Shortages have been experienced at 75 of those stations, many in the Toronto area. Affected retailers have been forced to shut down fuel pumps as they ran dry.
The company also supplies fuel to Canadian Tire gas bars throughout Ontario, prompting similar closures.
Imperial Oil has said it expects to have the situation resolved by the middle of next week.
One of the affected refineries is being repaired and some production is expected to resume by the end of next week.
While the shortages are being experienced, the Ontario Trucking Association called on the federal government to temporarily allow off-road and farm-grade diesel fuel to be used in trucks.
The association said using the fuel would offset problems until the supply issues can be resolved.
Trucks are the "lifeblood of the Ontario economy," association president David Bradley said, adding that 90 per cent of all consumer products and food are transported that way.
In a letter to federal Environment Minister John Baird, Bradley warned that "should the current situation persist or get worse, the impact on the Ontario economy could be enormous."
Bradley argues that current supply issues could be resolved temporarily if oil companies were allowed to resume production and sale of the lower grade diesel fuels.
With files from The Canadian Press