A PETROL station was forced to raise its prices again after a cut-price promotion led to chaos on one of the country's major thoroughfares.
Gardai from the Traffic Corps had to attend the Top service station on Usher's Quay in Dublin city centre after it was inundated with customers yesterday afternoon, leading to lengthy queues.
As part of a promotion to mark the reopening of the refurbished station, management slashed the price of petrol and diesel at lunchtime to just 99.9c a litre.
The offer sparked a frenzy among motorists, who are currently facing average fuel prices of 165.9c a litre for petrol and 159.9c for diesel.
Gardai arrived at the station after queues more than 40 cars long formed along Usher's Quay and snaked back around the corner and up Lower Bridge Street. At one stage, they had to close access to the forecourt and direct traffic to move on.
One woman got out of her car to remonstrate with a garda after she was told that she could not enter the station.
However, in light of the mayhem, management agreed with gardai that they would end the offer. At around 3pm, prices went back up to 162.9c for petrol and 154.9c for diesel.
"Word got around and they had to stop it half-way through. This was by mutual agreement between management and the gardai," explained a spokeswoman for Top.
Admitting that the situation had "got a little out of hand", she added: "They were doing it as a special opening offer and giving all the money from sales to local charities."
Management had intended to run the offer from lunchtime to around 4pm and sell 10,000 litres of fuel at the reduced prices. Only around 5,000 litres were actually sold before the prices went up again.
However, the Top spokeswoman said the station would run the offer again to sell the remaining 5,000 litres, although the exact date and time has not yet been decided.
Taxi driver Philip Campbell said the news spread like wildfire through his profession. But by the time he got there the prices had been put back up.
"I heard about it out at the airport and came the whole way in but the gardai had closed it."
He added: "It would have been about half the price I normally pay, so it would have made a huge difference."