Fuel crisis: London and South East hit hardest as drivers 'fill up with £1.72 of petrol'

30 September 2021, 11:29 | Updated: 30 September 2021, 12:31

Large numbers of petrol stations in London ran out fo all fuel amidst panic buying.
Large numbers of petrol stations in London ran out fo all fuel amidst panic buying. Picture: Alamy

By Joe Cook

London and the South East have been hardest hit by fuel shortages, according to the AA, as supply chain disruption continues into its second week, causing long queues and angering motorists.

AA president Edmund King urged drivers not to rush to top up and said the company had received "reports of drivers dribbling in £1.72p worth of petrol and £2.05 of diesel".

This "is pretty counter-productive as they would have used those amounts searching for fuel," he added.

There have been "very few problems" in Scotland or Northern Ireland, Mr King said, but "in general terms London and the South East have been hit hardest."

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A car broke down on Wednesday after it ran out of petrol in the queue for a forecourt in London.
A car broke down on Wednesday after it ran out of petrol in the queue for a forecourt in London. Picture: Alamy

At the peak of the crisis over the weekend the AA received 250 call outs from members with fuel breakdowns or misfuelling issues, he explained.

"Our evidence suggests that the pressure at the pumps is easing...From speaking to patrols and employees, many of the garages we observed with queues yesterday were generally functioning well today and still had fuel."

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Around 60 percent of petrol stations were completely out of fuel over the weekend across the UK, ministers have said, but that was down to 27 percent on Wednesday.

But only 16% of all petrol stations were fully supplied with fuel on Wednesday. Normally 40% of petrol stations are fully supplied.

While the crisis appears to now be abating, the army remains on standby to drive tankers should the shortages continue.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also warned the wider supply chain issues could continue "through to Christmas and beyond".

"What we want to do is to make sure we have all the preparations needed to get through to Christmas and beyond, not just in supply for petrol stations but all parts of the supply chain," he told reporters.