Breakdown cover company RAC has urged drivers to “only take the fuel they really need” amid a pricing crisis and widespread stock piling over the weekend.
The situation has led to an increasing number of RAC patrols attending to drivers who have run out of fuel, as business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suspended competition law to help companies resupply areas where fuel is running short.
“We urge drivers to only take the fuel they really need. Stock piling in containers only makes the situation worse for those who desperately need fuel as well as potentially causing unnecessary fire risks if not stored correctly,” RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said.
“It’s also vitally important the emergency services and businesses that help to keep the UK moving can get access to fuel.”
The weekend’s stockpiling has pushed the situation into hotter waters, as it means the country’s fuel station’s are more likely to need refilling at the same time.
“While there’s no shortage of fuel at refineries, panic buying over the weekend means every forecourt in the country needs to re-stock at the same time which puts unbelievable pressure on the supply chain,” Williams explained.
“We urge the government to do everything in its power to plug the gaps in the supply chain and keep deliveries moving normally.”
It comes as prime minister Boris Johnson had reportedly been mulling the decision to call in the army to help deliver fuel as pumps ran dry.
However, environment secretary George Eustice shot down the reports, saying that the government currently has “no plans” to bring in delivery support.
“We are bringing Ministry of Defence (MoD) trainers in to accelerate some of the HGV training to clear a backlog of people who want to carry out those tests, and there’s definitely a role there for the MoD,” he said.
“In terms of other things, we’ve no plans at the moment to bring in the Army to actually do the driving, but we always have a Civil Contingencies section within the Army on standby – but we’re not jumping to that necessarily at the moment.”
As so many drivers flocked to forecourts over the weekend, there should be slightly less demand over the coming days – some good news for those who have been met with empty pumps.
Though the panic buying has pushed already record prices up even further.
“It’s a pretty bleak picture for drivers,” the RAC spokesperson said, adding that “With the cost of oil rising and now near a three-year high, wholesale prices are being forced up which means retailers are paying more than they were just a few days ago for the same amount of fuel.”
The price of a litre of unleaded has gone up by a penny since Friday, he explained, which may continue to rise irrespective of supply issues as some retailer’s hike prices to capitalise on the shortage.