One in four petrol stations still empty, after minister warns of another week of shortages

1 October 2021, 15:20

According to the Petrol Retailers Association 26% of petrol stations have no fuel at all.
According to the Petrol Retailers Association 26% of petrol stations have no fuel at all. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Over one in four petrol stations in the UK have no fuel and another 27% have only one type, the Petrol Retailers Association revealed today.

Chief Executive Gordon Balmer said that although the fuel situation is improving, it is happening far too slowly.

He revealed that a survey carried out by the Petrol Retailers Association of 1,100 fuel stations found that although 47% had both petrol and diesel available, 27% had only one and 26% had none at all.

Mr Balmer said: "Whilst the situation is similar to recent days, there are signs that it is improving, but far too slowly.

"Independents which total 65% of the entire network are not receiving enough deliveries of fuel compared with other sectors.

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"Until independents start getting frequent supplies, we will continue to see long queues at forecourts.

"It is vital now to ensure we get fuel to all parts of the country in order to reduce queues and reassure the public again."

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Earlier today, Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that shortages at stations may continue for another week, and that PM Boris Johnson may need to take action if the situation deteriorates.

But yesterday Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke claimed that the fuel crisis was "absolutely back under control".

The shortages are reportedly at their worst in London and the south-east, where filling stations are running out of fuel quicker than they can be supplied.

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Although efforts are being made to even out distribution and prioritise areas with the most shortages, this is limited by the number of tankers and drivers available.

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The UK is currently suffering a shortage of around 90,000 HGV drivers, a figure increased by the impacts of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week the government announced plans to issue an extra 5,000 visas for foreign HGV drivers and pledged 150 military staff to help ferry fuel around the country.

Man pulls 'knife' on motorist in petrol station brawl in southeast London

However, none of the staff have yet been used and the visa scheme has had widespread backlash after it emerged the visas would end on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, the UK has seen queues at petrol stations across the country and fights between enraged motorists.

In one incident on Monday, one motorist appeared to draw a knife at another vehicle before smashing its wind-mirror, apparently in a dispute about queue-jumping.

The crisis began after a shortage of tanker drivers forced a handful of BP stations to close, triggering a rush of consumers and spike in demand.