ROME - Italian motorists faced queues to buy petrol on Wednesday as fuel station operators staged a 48-hour strike.
The operators are angry at being caught up in the crossfire between the government and consumer groups over rising prices at the pump after a cut in fuel duties expired.
The strike has been called "to protest against the shameful smear campaign against the category," representatives for the industry said, accusing the government of taking "ineffective measures, which continue to penalise only the operators, without protecting consumers".
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has refused to reinstate the duty reduction and the government has warned against speculative price rises.
It has ordered operators to display the average fuel price, updated on a regular basis, alongside the prices being charged at their petrol station.
A certain number of fuel stations will remain open to ensure that mimimum levels of service are maintained.
(Writing by Keith Weir, Editing by Louise Heavens)