DUBAI // With the gauge needle dropping into the red and the air-conditioning switched off to preserve fuel, Mohammed al Dulaijan finally found a station that had petrol.
But to fill up on Sharjah's Airport Road, the 23-year-old Saudi student faced a wait of more than an hour in the morning heat as dozens of motorists honed in on stations that were still supplying fuel.
"It was hot and I had the AC switched off," he said. "The Adnocs were empty on Airport Road. All the pumps on the Dubai to Sharjah roads were congested, probably due to the rise in demand."
The timing could not have been worse for Noorhan Ibrahim Barakat, a 20-year-old Egyptian student. She needed to fill up to get to an exam at American University of Sharjah, for which she arrived late.
"I went to two petrol stations in an hour to find both empty. It's not even funny anymore. I just hope it gets resolved soon."
Ammar Shabbir, 24, an aircraft engineer, was unable to fill up at an Eppco station in Al Qusais, but finally joined a line of cars that extended on to the street outside an Emarat station.
"I had a meeting scheduled, but had to cancel due to the long queues in stations," he said. "I couldn't really explain the problem to my office as not getting petrol is not an excuse."
Shanzeh Shasiq, a 22-year-old Pakistani student, said she trawled around four deserted stations, including Emarat and Eppco stations in Al Qusais, before finally filling up.
"I was desperate as I was running out of petrol completely," she said.