Forecourts across the UK have been hit by petrol shortages after a surge in panic buying over the weekend.
The recent supply issue is a direct impact of the ongoing national driver crisis, leaving fuel unable to be transported to sites. Goran Raven of Raven’s Budgens Abridge in Romford told Better Retailing he has completely run out of petrol today as result.
“We have been hit by ridiculous extra pressure put onto us by the general public. We have been emptied on multiple occasions in the last 3 days and we can’t get fuel in quick enough, Shell cannot get it to us in time. Today we have run out of fuel completely.
“We are remaining open for the store but the crisis is having a detrimental impact on shop sales because when we are open for fuel no one is using the store, it is only when we run out of fuel that we turn to normal shop habits.
He added: “When we have fuel our footfall is through the roof but all they are buying is fuel. So, when we run out of fuel our footfall drops dramatically but the shop basket spend is where it needs to be.”
In a desperate attempt to rectify the issue, the government has suspended competition law to allow oil firms to offer fuel deliveries, and on Saturday it said it would offer 5,000 temporary visas to foreign fuel tankers and food lorry drivers, and 5,500 poultry workers, lasting until Christmas Eve. However, the move has been criticised by the rest of the industry who expressed this isn’t enough to fully solve the matter.
Other measures include sending nearly one million letters to drivers who hold an HGV licence as a way to encourage them back into the industry and future plans to train 4,000 new HGV drivers.
Brian Madderson, chairman of trade body Petrol Retailers Association confirmed half of its members had no fuel yesterday.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “Some of our members, large groups with a portfolio of sites, report 50% are dry as of yesterday, some even report as many as 90% are dry.”
A joint statement from various fuel companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and Greenergy reminded the public the forecourt pressures were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel”.