Petrol panic buying causing ‘really serious problems’ as pumps run dry - with queues across Leeds

Panic buying is causing “really serious problems” at petrol stations with at least half reporting they are out of fuel, according to a sector spokesman.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 4:45 pm

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Delays to bus services across Leeds being caused by petrol panic buying

Queues at stations continued for a third day on Sunday despite reassurances from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that there is “plenty” of fuel available.

In Leeds, large queues formed at a number of petrol stations including Owlcotes ASDA - where staff were seen on the road directing drivers.

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Cars queue for fuel at a BP petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire. Picture date: Sunday September 26, 2021. PIC: PA

But Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, said the Government was “loath to recognise” that supplies were stuck at refineries or storage depots and were not being delivered to forecourts due to current supply issues.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, Mr Madderson said the creation of 5,000 HGV foreign driver visas, announced by the Government on Saturday, was unlikely to alleviate petrol pressures in the “ultra-short term”.

“We might see benefits of them later in the autumn as the drivers come across and start to work, but in the very short term this panic buying has caused really serious problems,” he said.

“I’ve talked to a lot of our members this morning. They serve the main roads, the rural areas, the urban roads, and anywhere in between 50% and 90% of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren’t dry are partly dry and running out soon.”

With motorway pumps running low, the outgoing association chairman said oil companies were “giving motorway service areas priority delivery”, resulting in drivers “flocking” on to the nation’s major highways to fill up.

“One of them mentioned to me that yesterday they had a 500% increase in demand compared to a week ago, which is quite extraordinary,” he added.

“There is plenty of fuel in this country but it is in the wrong place for the motorists.

“It is still in the terminals and the refineries, and the amount they can now ship into and deliver to the forecourts is limited by two things.

“One, the availability of the hardware, the tankers themselves. These are specialist tankers able to deliver in pods, in those big trucks, a wide variety of fuels to the forecourts.

“There is a finite number of those and there is obviously a finite number of trained drivers, and that has been the problem, that that number of finite number of drivers has been reduced.”

Bus services in Leeds were heavily delayed on Saturday due to the queues.Many residents took to social media to complain about closures at stations across the city.

One said: "Been to five petrol stations in Leeds all closed!"

Another added: "I went to 6 different petrol stations last night before I could get fuel. Most had no queues, however the reason for no queues was because the pumps were closed as they were empty.

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