Gasoline shortages in the UK are due to “outright panic buying,” the chairman of the Association of British Petrol Stations (PRA) told the BBC on Monday, while according to the report local press, the government plans to use the army to deliver fuel.
“One of our members received a container at noon and by the end of the afternoon it was totally gone” in people’s cars, added Brian Madderson, a PRA official.
Stations were mainly out of gasoline in urban areas of the country while Northern Ireland seemed so far spared from the problem, he detailed.
The surge in demand for gasoline led the PRA to warn that up to two-thirds of its members at nearly 5,500 independent sites out of a total of 8,000 refueling stations nationwide were out of fuel on Sunday, “the others. almost dry ”.
In recent days and despite calls from the government not to panic, gas stations have been taken by storm due to stockouts which also affect the shelves of agri-food products.
Faced with worsening shortages, mainly due to a lack of truck drivers, London finally resolved on Saturday to amend its post-Brexit immigration policy and grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas.
These three-month permits, from October to December, should make up for a glaring shortage of truck drivers but also of staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.
Faced with gasoline shortages, the army as a last resort
According to the British press, the government is studying the possibility of calling on the army to alleviate these shortages in the short term.
Minister of Business and Energy Kwasi Kwarteng, for his part, said in a statement on Sunday that he had temporarily exempted the fuel distributor sector from competition rules so that they can deliver priority to areas that have it. most needed.
A spokesperson for Royal Dutch Shell contacted by AFP admitted that the oil giant “is seeing increased demand today at some gas stations, with longer queues. We are adapting our delivery schedules ”.
On Sky NewsBrian Madderson attributed the panic effect to a “leak of a confidential BP report during a government meeting” which “aired Wednesday” and was followed by “panic buying Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday,” he lamented.
“Immediately that happened, there was panic buying.”
Brian Madderson of the Petrol Retailers Association claims panic buying of fuel was sparked by a whistle-blower who leaked a confidential BP report to a cabinet meeting on 16 September.
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– Sky News (@SkyNews) September 27, 2021
Madderson qualified the improvement army drivers might bring: “It’s not as easy as you might think because truck drivers are very specialized” and tank trucks carry “highly flammable liquid through the tank. country ”which requires appropriate loading and unloading procedures.
On bringing back European drivers who returned to their countries with the pandemic and Brexit, Madderson argued there were driver shortages in mainland Europe as well.
He noted the problem of heavy vehicle driving license arrears which could not be passed during confinement: “there are 40,000 pending applications for heavy vehicle licenses from the British”.
Madderson, however, was optimistic, saying he hoped that the problem of gasoline shortages will be partially resolved “by the end of the week.”