Black market operators made money from the situation.
Activities were slowed down in Owerri on Monday as filling station owners closed shop in protest against a new tax imposed on them.
While motorists and tricycle riders lamented the scarcity, black market dealers made brisk business of the situation with a litre of petrol going for as much as N250.
Residents told the News Agency of Nigeria that the scarcity had caused a sharp rise in the fare charged by transporters.
Rose Nwana, a civil servant, said getting to work cost her extra N200 as a result of the scarcity. She said distances which cost N50 previously now cost as much as N100 as the transporters had to recover the high cost of fuel in the black market.
Boniface Nworie, a commercial tricycle rider, said the cost may increase further because black marketers would run out of fuel, causing an even worse scarcity. Efforts to interview owners of fuel stations in Owerri proved abortive as most of them stayed away while their managers declined comment.