Environment secretary George Eustice has warned the public about the effects of panic buying fuel, saying that there is plenty of fuel for everyone if they buy as and when they need it. There were startling scenes over the weekend as large queues formed on many garage forecourts as people rushed to fill up their petrol tank, after it was discovered that BP had told the government it was restricting supplies of fuel to their service stations to ensure they don`t run dry.
The Shortages Have Become A Self Fulfilling Prophesy
The shortages then become a self fulfilling prophesy as people take more petrol and diesel than they would ordinarily do, thus leading to the closure of petrol stations up and down the UK.
In an article in The Guardian George Eustice is quoted as saying:
“The most important thing is that people just buy petrol as they normally would. There isn’t a shortage.
“There have been some shortages of HGV drivers getting petrol to forecourts but actually that’s quite limited in the petrol sector.
“The cause of these current problems is that panic-buying episode, and the most important thing is for people to start buying petrol as they normally would.
“Obviously those people who have a tendency to be anxious at these times, many of them will have filled their cars up.
“There does come a time when things settle down, people get used to it and return to life as normal again. The quicker people do that the better.
“There is no shortage of petrol. Plenty of petrol in both our refineries and in storage.”
Businesses & Members Of The Public Share Concerns
Despite these calming words from the environment secretary there are great concerns from many businesses, along with members of the public, as if they can`t find a petrol station with fuel for their vans and cars their work could come to a halt, leading to all sorts of problems.
There doesn`t seem to be a quick fix solution as bringing foreign HGV drivers in will take time, and would need to be ramped up considerably, and training new HGV drivers here in the UK also takes time. So we could have a shortage of drivers to get fuel to the pumps for some time. This, coupled with the panic buying which has ensued since the announcement that fuel may be in short supply, has created the perfect storm. We await to see how this all pans out with interest.