While Leeds recovers from a rush on petrol, the industry is preparing for a second “spike in demand” in the event fuel tanker drivers vote for strike action.
Petrol stations across West Yorkshire suffered from shortages and long queues on Thursday and over the weekend, after thousands of motorists simultaneously descended on forecourts following a warning from the Government to stockpile.
Now the same retailers are getting order books at the ready ahead of a possible walkout by truckers next week, while suppliers are on fuel delivery catch-up,
Talks were under way last night between mediation service Acas and the employers of the 2,000 workers, who plan to strike over working conditions. The Unite union is expected to meet with fuel distributors later in the week.
New figures from industry body RMI Petrol showed the volume of petrol sold fell dramatically after a high on Thursday. This will in part be because forecourts sold out.
Owen Thomas, 62, owner of independent Central Garage in Boston Spa, was last night waiting a delivery.
He said the last few days had been “stressful” and costly to the family business.
Mr Thomas said: “I’m not sleeping worrying about it all. I don’t know what is going to happen with the union talks, so I don’t know what to order.”
In the meantime the station has been losing sales as it has no fuel.
He said: “Our main money is earned on the pop and crisps, not the fuel, which just pulls people in.”
Quentin Churchill, sales and marketing manager at Tate Oil in Otley, which supplies around 40 independent petrol stations across Yorkshire, said the company order book was full following last week’s rush.
He said: “Normally customers could expect to get a supply within 24 hours of running short, but currently the wait is 48 hours.”
Mr Churchill added: “It’s important to say there is no shortage of supply. The problem is the speed of getting fuel to stations when they have all run short at the same time.”
He added: “The drivers who rushed out to fill up will not be using that fuel any faster so we expect things to be much quieter in a week’s time, unless there is a strike, then we might have a second spike in demand.”
The average price of petrol in Leeds is now 141p (up from 140.2p last Friday) while diesel is 146.8p (up from 146.4p), according to Petrolprices.co.uk.
Diane Hill, 46, from York, became the first victim of the panic-buying when petrol she was decanting in her kitchen was ignited by a nearby lit stove. She suffered 40 per cent burns, and a spokeswoman for Pinderfields Hospital confirmed yesterday afternoon Mrs Hill remained “critical but stable” condition.
Evans Cycles, which has two branches in Leeds city centre, has reported a dramatic increase in sales as a result of the fuel strike threat.