Petrol shortage: Some Shell petrol stations run out of fuel as panic buying triggers ‘larger queues’

·2-min read
Closed pumps at a Shell garage in Clapham, London as drivers ignore pleas not to panic buy (PA)
Closed pumps at a Shell garage in Clapham, London as drivers ignore pleas not to panic buy (PA)

Some Shell petrol stations are reporting that they have run out of fuel.

It comes after BP, Tesco and Esso have warned of a lack of fuel at a number of their forecourts as a result of the HGV driver shortage.

Shell said it was seeing increased demand for fuel at some of its petrol stations as worries over fuel running out of stock sent motorists to the pumps en masse to fill up their tanks since yesterday.

A spokesperson for the Anglo-Dutch oil group said: “We are seeing an increased demand today for fuel at some of our stations, which may in some instances result in larger queues.

“We are adapting our delivery schedules to ensure sufficient supplies for our customers.”

Motorists have been urged to fill up their tanks as normal, but hundreds of images have been uploaded to social media showing massive queues of cars outside forecourts.

Edmund King, president of breakdown and recovery service the AA, said that “there is no shortage of fuel”.

He said that thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems”.

Mr King added: “It is now clear that there have been occasional delays over recent weeks that have been managed with hardly anyone noticing. This was a manageable problem.”

The Road Haulage Association has attributed to the shortage of HGV drivers to the Covid pandemic, Brexit, and long-standing problems with pay and conditions that has seen many drivers leave the profession.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has not ruled out deploying the army to forecourts or relaxing post-Brexit visa rules to ease a shortfall of about 100,000 lorry drivers.

An anonymous ally of Boris Johnson is quoted by the Financial Times as saying that the PM “is completely fed up with bad headlines on this and wants it sorted and doesn’t care about visa limits any more”.

Rob Hollyman, director of Youngs Transportation and Logistics, has said that hauliers would breathe a “huge sigh of relief” if the government relaxes visa rules for lorry drivers.

He said: “It’s been very tough. We have been very short of drivers. It would be a godsend.”

Mr Hollyman added that it was “a very short-term, partial fix”, and called for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week testing of drivers to clear a backlog of 40,000 people waiting to obtain their HGV licences.

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