Panic buying rather than supply chain issues is the root cause of fuel shortages at some service stations in the UK, the chairman of an automotive association said, amid reports of queues for fuel on Saturday.
Police urged drivers to be “reasonable” when refueling at gas stations after long queues have built up.
Lincolnshire Police said: ‘We received reports this morning of long queues at some petrol stations in the county. This is a potential hazard to vehicles making other journeys and can cause difficulties for emergency services trying to reach people in need.
“While we appreciate that some people are particularly keen to refuel their vehicles this weekend, we respectfully ask motorists to be reasonable when they deem to join a line at a gas station. . If it’s too long, consider coming back at another time.
Bedfordshire Police tweeted: ‘We ask you to make sure you do not block the roads during the queue, it is important that emergency vehicles can pass at all times. “
In Brockley, south London, motorists lined up for petrol at an Esso gas station on Saturday morning, while queues also formed at a Tesco gas station in Bracknell, Berkshire , among others.
Edmund King, chairman of the AA, the Automobile Association, told BBC Breakfast that the problem should go away in a matter of days if drivers just refuel when they need it, adding “There are a lot of fuel at the source ”and that the shortage of truck drivers was only a“ localized problem ”at the start of the week.
Tony Danker, managing director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said it was ‘a pity’ that queues had to form before the government acted, but described the expected turnaround from the government after Brexit on visa easing. rules for foreign truck drivers as “a huge relief”.
Danker told BBC Breakfast: “I hope this will happen and it is a huge relief. It’s been three months since we have been calling for it, we could see this problem coming and other problems coming, so it’s a shame the government needed queues at the pump to move, but I hope so , and that will help.
On Friday evening, it emerged that UK retailer EG Group had introduced a fuel purchase limit of £ 30 per customer at its 389 service stations, due to ‘unprecedented’ supply and demand issues.
The limit on all fuel grades is intended to ensure that sites continue to “run smoothly”, but will not apply to heavy truck drivers or emergency service vehicles.
A spokesperson for EG Group said: “This is a company decision to ensure all of our customers have a fair chance to refuel and to keep our sites running smoothly. We ask everyone who visits our sites to treat our colleagues, supply chain partners and customers with respect in these very difficult times. All of EG Group’s UK sites remain open and operational to serve customers.
Commenting on the government’s expected announcement that a change in visa rules would allow foreign truck drivers to re-enter the UK, King said: ‘We were in talks with government ministers last night and we spoke to major oil companies, and we can there is no source supply problem.
“Earlier in the week there were issues with the supply chain, as we know, due to a shortage of truck drivers, but it was just a localized issue. “
King said the shortage has been exacerbated by “people going out and refueling when they really don’t need it.”
“If you think about it, 30m cars over there, if they all have half a tank [and] if they all rush to fill the rest of the tank and the tank is about 60 liters, it will put a strain on the system, ”he said.
The problems, he said, are not expected to last as the supply chain is not disrupted by lingering issues such as industrial action.
“The good news is you can really only refuel once – you have to use the fuel, so that should be a short-term thing,” he said. “It’s not like the fuel crises of the past when the supplier was hit by strikes and so on.
“So once people have fueled up, they won’t be traveling more than they normally travel, so that pressure on the system should ease over the next few days. “
However, King admitted, the shortage of truck and heavy-duty drivers was an ongoing problem. “The market is tight, so I think it’s a bigger issue affecting the supply chain, not just gasoline and diesel, but retail as well. “
King said the government had released a number of test drives for truck drivers in training, but said he did not know the details of additional steps he might consider taking.
Danker warned that in addition to shortages of truck drivers, there were also labor shortages, supply chain and energy issues.
“I think what we need is for the government to grab these things with us in business and get ahead of them rather than behind,” he said.
Conservative MP and Brexiter Andrea Leadsom urged people on Twitter not to “over-buy” energy, and said any shortage would be the result of “storage”.