The government has been urged to give essential workers, such as NHS staff and teachers, priority access to fuel amid shortages.
An estimated 50 to 90 per cent of petrol stations are without fuel as the country faces a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortage which is affecting supply delivery.
Industry bodies are calling on the government to designate some petrol stations for exclusive use by key workers to ensure they can continue getting to work.
In a letter, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, wrote, “emergency and essential workers rely on fuel both to travel to work and for their work itself – whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care.
“While the Government has said it is putting plans in place to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel, the results of this won’t be immediate,” he added, urging the government to prioritise getting fuel to health workers.
UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union also called on the government to “use emergency powers.” UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea told the government to “get a grip” and “designate some fuel centres and actually say these are for key workers only,” in comments to BBC news.
The comments come after UNISON members, including teachers, were unable to get to work as fuel supplies run low at petrol stations across the country.
Ministers and fuel suppliers have said that the shortages are likely to last only a few days with the government blaming panic buying for stock levels at petrol stations falling below 20 per cent for the second day running.
The government are considering bringing in army drivers to deliver petrol and diesel to forecourts.