London fuel levels return to normal after panic buying crisis

·2-min read
A driver grabs a fuel nozzle at a petrol station to fill up his car in London (AP)
A driver grabs a fuel nozzle at a petrol station to fill up his car in London (AP)

London’s petrol station stocks have returned to normal levels following weeks of shortages, new figures show.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said filling station storage tanks were an average of 45 per cent full at the end of the day on Sunday.

It is the highest figure since May after a shortage of hauliers, and panic buying, saw many petrol stations in the capital run out of fuel supplies.

London and the South East were the slowest regions to recover from the shortage, but their petrol station storage tanks were an average of 42 per cent and 45 per cent full on Sunday.

Just last week, storage tanks in the capital were an average of 27 per cent full. Stock levels had averaged at around 43 per cent in early 2020 before the first national lockdown.

The government was forced to deploy the military to help deliver fuel earlier this month in a bid to fix the crisis.

A survey published last Monday found that one in six Britons were working from home because they could not buy enough fuel for their daily commute.

Meanwhile, ministers have been urged to consider cutting VAT on fuel as prices hit a nine-year high.

The RAC said the rising cost of oil means drivers are now paying 4p per litre more in VAT than a year ago - but stressed that price hikes were not caused by panic buying.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Our data shows we haven’t seen the petrol price at this sort of level since September 2012, and we’re now worryingly close to the all-time average UK price high of 142.48p that was hit in the same year.

“At a time when households and businesses are facing spiralling prices in other areas, this is a huge concern.”

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