By Wednesday afternoon, June 26, traffic in Cairo went from a gridlock of cars jammed around gas stations to eerily empty as the gas shortage discouraged drivers from going out. By Thursday, traffic jams were again at their worst, with people complaining of commutes taking hours. Worried about escalating tensions with the gas shortage hitting the country before protests planned for June 30, many offices have been letting their employees stay home in preceding days.
Despite the long lines and Tarek el-Barkatawy, head of the Egyptian Gas and Petroleum Company, acknowledging a gas shortage at a press conference earlier in the week, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Hadarra denied any shortage on June 26. While Hadarra blamed the long lines at gas stations on false rumors that the government intends to halt the supply of gas products, el-Barkatawy reported that the current rate of gas consumption is exceeding normal levels by 20 to 30%.