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Long lines for gasoline in Kumamoto as many spend nervous nights in cars

Cars queue in front of a gas station in Chuo Ward, Kumamoto, on April 16, 2016. (Mainichi)

KUMAMOTO -- Long lines are forming at gas stations in this quake-shaken city as many residents worried about further temblors opt to sleep in their cars with the engines running.

Cars started to form a line in front of a gas station in Chuo Ward, Kumamoto, at around 7:30 a.m. on April 16 shortly after it opened, and there were about 60 vehicles in the queue by 1 p.m.

This is largely because a tank truck that was to deliver gasoline to the station in the morning was delayed due to heavy traffic following the recent series of earthquakes, according to station employees. After regular gasoline was almost sold out by noon, the gas station turned to selling only high-octane fuel.

"I'd like to keep the station open as long as possible because customers are lining up," said Katsuhiro Murata, the 41-year-old manager of the gas station.

"I'll sleep in my car with the engine running so that I can get away if I'm in danger," said one customer.

Local Buddhist priest Yoshitaka Takemoto, 52, said he and three family members have spent every night in his car in front of his home since the first major quake hit on April 14.

"I'm afraid that my home may collapse, because powerful aftershocks continue to hit the area," he said. "It's tough to stay in my car for a long time, though."

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