Great Britain

Is there a petrol shortage?

DRIVERS are being urged not to stockpile or panic buy petrol amid rising fears of a nationwide fuel shortage.

Worried drivers have this morning been rushing out to fill up their petrol tanks and stockpile fuel in case the pumps run dry.

Industry experts have said there is no shortage of petrol, but forecourts
across the country are being closed because of a lorry driver shortage.

We explain everything you need to know.

Is there a fuel shortgage?

Drivers are being urged not to panic or stockpile fuel.

According to latest data, fuel demand is still only at 92% of pre-pandemic levels.

The PRA said that means there should be enough stock at refineries and delivery terminals throughout the UK. 

Gordon Balmer from the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said: "Cases of complete forecourt stock-outs have been rare so the resilience of retail fuels is not in question, which is good news for motorists."

The issue with forecourts closing is more about a shortage of lorry drivers to deliver fuel.

One petrol station manager told 5Live Breakfast the situation had been going on for "six or seven weeks".

He said: "At least once a week now, we're having to switch diesel or unleaded off.

"It's an issue, but it's not an issue from our fuel suppliers because there's plenty of fuel out there."

Why is there a driver shortage?

While there is plenty of fuel, there are not enough HGV drivers to transport it.

Balmer said: "Like many industries, the retail fuels sector is under supply pressure from a lack of trained HGV drivers."

The PRA said some forecourts are experiencing delayed deliveries and issues "appear to be confined to London and the South-East and appear to be temporary".  

Rod McKenzie from the Road Haulage Association told BBC Breakfast the industry was 100,000 drivers short at the moment, which is causing supply issues up and down the country.

He said drivers leaving the country due to Brexit, trucker training tests cancelled because of the pandemic, and many drivers retiring was creating a "perfect storm".

The Sun recently launched a campaign to help recruit thousands of HGV drivers.

Who is affected?

Business secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News that only a handful of petrol stations had closed.

Some drivers have taken to social media to complain of closed forecourts.

One Manchester-based Twitter user said his local Shell petrol station had been closed due to having no fuel.

Another said his village petrol station had been closed for a week.

The panic comes after reports that BP and Tesco had been forced to shut forecourts and concerns that fuel could be rationed.

There are fears the army could be called in to drive tankers under the Government's emergency plans if the situation escalates.

Has this happened before?

The last time the UK experienced serious fuel shortages was in 2000 when protests over rising prices led to many forecourts running dry.

Famers and lorry drivers blockaded refineries meaning fuel could not
be transported to petrol stations.

Petrol retailers began rationing their remaining supplies as panicked motorists tried to stockpile and panic buy.

Schools closed, the NHS was cast into an emergency state, and Royal Mail said it only had enough fuel for one more day of deliveries.

Panic buyers fill up their cars at petrol stations as fuel shortage crisis worsens

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