Petrol stations are STILL running out of fuel quicker than they can be resupplied, say bosses

Petrol stations are still running out of fuel quicker than forecourts can be resupplied, bosses have claimed – as figured showed the crisis has a North/South divide.

The situation is improving in the North East and Yorkshire but the South East and Midlands continue to suffer as the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) suggested the easing of the situation in recent days appeared to have stalled, with 27 per cent of stations having run dry – the same percentage as on Wednesday.

Average fuel levels at UK petrol stations were at 20 per cent for the third day running today – less than half the normal figure of 43 per cent – but the Whitehall analysis showed a drastically varying picture by region.

London, the South East, the North West, the West Midlands and East Midlands all have fuel levels of below 20 per cent and are labelled ‘red’ under a traffic light system that is reminiscent of the Government’s travel lists.

But fuel levels are improving in the North East, Yorkshire and Wales which have all moved from red to amber, while Scotland is moving from amber to green – and Northern Ireland is already green, reported The Times.

Executive director Gordon Balmer said: ‘PRA members are reporting that whilst they are continuing to take further deliveries of fuel, this is running out quicker than usual due to unprecedented demand.’ 

Revelations over the regional variations came as the Government was today accused of ‘gaslighting’ Britain over the fuel crisis, with Ministers admitting more than a quarter of petrol stations still remain without supplies.

London and Bristol were among the worst hit areas today as UK roads were gridlocked for the seventh day in a row while motorists hunt for stations with fuel, carrying petrol cans, plastic jugs and water bottles to stock up.

The Petrol Retailers Association said it had surveyed 1,200 fuel stations across the UK today, and 52 per cent of sites reported having both petrol and diesel in stock, 21 per cent had only one in stock and 27 per cent were dry. 

HOOK, HAMPSHIRE - People walk past a closed Shell petrol filling station today in southern England as the crisis continues

HOOK, HAMPSHIRE - People walk past a closed Shell petrol filling station today in southern England as the crisis continues

HOOK, HAMPSHIRE – People walk past a closed Shell petrol filling station today in southern England as the crisis continues

Drivers told of their hunt for fuel overnight into this morning, with Portsmouth-based Joe Wells tweeting: ‘Being told there is petrol when I’ve been to five petrol stations and they’ve had none is literally gaslighting’.

And Kim Sunley from London tweeted: ‘Absolute bulls*** to say fuel crisis is over if my bus journey in NE London is anything to go by. One station closed, two gridlocked with queues. Government gaslighting.’ 

Government ministers began briefing on Monday that they believed the crisis would begin easing from today as drivers who needed petrol or diesel would then have been able to fill up. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson then gave a statement insisting the crisis was ‘stabilising’ and told drivers to ‘go about their business in the normal way and fill up in the normal way, when you really need it’. 

Then on Sky News this morning, Treasury minister Simon Clarke said 60 per cent of petrol stations were out of fuel over the weekend, but that had dropped to 27 per cent yesterday and was still ‘falling’ today. One of the cities where the crisis did appear to be easing today was Liverpool, where very little queuing was seen at petrol stations.

Panic buying was sparked last week by concerns a lack of lorry drivers would prevent supplies reaching fuel pumps, and has brought long queues around the UK and pockets of aggression at petrol station forecourts.

Petrol stations face disruption for up to a month even if panic buying stops, industry figures say – and one motorist picked up on Mr Johnson’s claims that the crisis was ‘stabilising’, tweeting: ‘It’s stabilising. Into a lack of fuel’. 

But Mr Clarke insisted today that the ‘numbers are really moving in the right direction’ and 150 drivers from the Army were on standby to help if needed. Today, an Army tanker was seen been driven along the M5 near Bristol. 

Sainsbury’s told MailOnline today that it has more than 300 petrol stations, with some reopening after receiving more fuel but other closing until they receive more – however, it insisted that all sites continue to receive fuel. 

It came as the Government advised local councils around the country not to use the phrases ‘panic’, ‘panic buying’ or ‘stock-piling’ in reference to the fuel crisis, in the hope it will reduce queues outside petrol stations. 

The advice was in a presentation from the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Science Team – known the ‘Nudge Unit’ – whose members believe they can use psychology to influence the public’s behaviour. 

Drivers also claim that away from the queues, roads in central London are quieter because fewer cars are out due to a lack of fuel, meaning thousands of people are either unable to get to work or working from home. 

Meanwhile the RAC has warned motorists that fuel prices could reach record levels even if the current crisis ends, reaching 143p per litre for petrol and 145p per litre for diesel in the next few weeks – up around 10p. 

BRIDPORT, DORSET -- The Esso petrol station on the A35 is still out of fuel today due to panic buying by motorists

BRIDPORT, DORSET -- The Esso petrol station on the A35 is still out of fuel today due to panic buying by motorists

BRIDPORT, DORSET — The Esso petrol station on the A35 is still out of fuel today due to panic buying by motorists

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- A Shell petrol station in the capital is still out of fuel this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- A Shell petrol station in the capital is still out of fuel this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON — A Shell petrol station in the capital is still out of fuel this morning

BRIXTON, SOUTH LONDON -- A sign saying 'no fuel, sorry' stands outside a closed Tesco petrol station in the capital today

BRIXTON, SOUTH LONDON -- A sign saying 'no fuel, sorry' stands outside a closed Tesco petrol station in the capital today

BRIXTON, SOUTH LONDON — A sign saying ‘no fuel, sorry’ stands outside a closed Tesco petrol station in the capital today

ASHFORD, KENT -- Fuel shortages affect this petrol station in Kent, with a sign saying 'sorry, our petrol station is closed today'

ASHFORD, KENT -- Fuel shortages affect this petrol station in Kent, with a sign saying 'sorry, our petrol station is closed today'

ASHFORD, KENT — Fuel shortages affect this petrol station in Kent, with a sign saying ‘sorry, our petrol station is closed today’

LONDON -- A sign showing the lack of fuel is displayed at the entrance of a petrol station in the capital this morning

LONDON -- A sign showing the lack of fuel is displayed at the entrance of a petrol station in the capital this morning

LONDON — A sign showing the lack of fuel is displayed at the entrance of a petrol station in the capital this morning

HANWELL, WEST LONDON -- A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station today due to the lack of fuel in the capital

HANWELL, WEST LONDON -- A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station today due to the lack of fuel in the capital

HANWELL, WEST LONDON — A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station today due to the lack of fuel in the capital

LONDON -- A petrol station stands closed in London this morning amid the continuing UK fuel shortage

LONDON -- A petrol station stands closed in London this morning amid the continuing UK fuel shortage

LONDON — A petrol station stands closed in London this morning amid the continuing UK fuel shortage








Mr Balmer added: ‘We would urge drivers to maintain their buying habits and only fuel up as and when needed to ensure there is plenty of fuel to go around.

‘It is important to remember that fuel stocks remain normal at refineries and terminals, and deliveries have been reduced solely due to the shortage of HGV drivers.’

His comments appeared to contradict the Government after one minister claimed the crisis was ‘under control’.

Mr Clarke told Sky News: ‘We are in a situation now where more fuel is being delivered to petrol stations than is being sold so that crisis is now absolutely back under control.

‘That is something that will continue to ease if people just return to normal buying habits.’

The AA said that while queues remained at stations across London, the South of England and in built up areas, there were ‘encouraging signs of stability’.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘Most drivers have managed to find fuel, but might have had to travel to several filling stations or to queue.

‘A large proportion of drivers changed their refuelling habits over the last five days, and this should now allow forecourts to restock and find their feet again.’

Ministers have already begun deploying the Government’s reserve tanker fleet – driven by civilian drivers – to support the resupply of filing stations.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said military drivers – who have been on standby since Monday – should also start appearing on the roads in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has suggested that prisoners could be employed to fill the wider shortages in the labour market.

The Government has rejected calls from the retail and hospitality sectors to ease immigration rules in the run-up to Christmas to ensure services are maintained.

However Mr Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, said taking on low level offenders on day release from prison could make it less likely they will re-offend while benefitting the economy.

‘We’ve been getting prisoners and offenders to do volunteering and unpaid work,’ he told The Spectator.

‘Why not if there are shortages encourage them to do paid work where there’s a benefit for the economy, benefit for society?

‘If you give people skin in the game, give them something to lose, if you give them some hope, they’re much less likely to re-offend.’

Treasury minister Simon Clarke told Sky News: ‘We’re in a situation now where the fuel crisis thankfully is easing. I think one of the key messages I want to get across this morning is that if people just return to normal buying habits.

‘We are in a situation now where more fuel is being delivered to petrol stations than is being sold, so that crisis is now absolutely back under control and is something that will continue to ease if people just return to normal buying habits.’

He added: ‘I think we are now in a situation where the data is becoming much clearer on this. Whereas at the weekend 60 per cent of petrol stations were out of fuel – that was down to 27 per cent as of yesterday. The numbers are really moving in the right direction.

‘We’re confident that the situation will continue to improve. We have 150 drivers [from the Army] on standby to help. They haven’t yet been used, but they are on standby to help. The most important message though is that actually the resilience of the fuel supply chain is now improving.

‘They [the drivers on standby] are ready to help if they are needed. We are confident, on the basis that we’re getting… whereas at the weekend it was 60 per cent of stations that didn’t have fuel, that’s now done to 27 per cent and falling.

‘As I say, more fuel is now being delivered to petrol stations than sold. We’re confident that the commercial market can resolve this. We stand by obviously if we need to intervene to act, But equally, the main message today is that there is enough fuel.

‘I understand why people are unnerved by some of the scenes they’ve seen at petrol stations, but if people shop normally this will very quickly correct itself.’

BRISTOL -- Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

BRISTOL -- Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

BRISTOL — Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

Treasury minister Simon Clarke told Sky News today that 60 per cent of petrol stations were out of fuel over the weekend, but that had dropped to 27 per cent yesterday and is 'falling'

Treasury minister Simon Clarke told Sky News today that 60 per cent of petrol stations were out of fuel over the weekend, but that had dropped to 27 per cent yesterday and is 'falling'

Treasury minister Simon Clarke told Sky News today that 60 per cent of petrol stations were out of fuel over the weekend, but that had dropped to 27 per cent yesterday and is ‘falling’

LONDON -- Vehicles queue to refill at a petrol station in London this morning as the supply crisis continues

LONDON -- Vehicles queue to refill at a petrol station in London this morning as the supply crisis continues

LONDON — Vehicles queue to refill at a petrol station in London this morning as the supply crisis continues








HERTFORDSHIRE -- A worker refuelling a tanker at Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, today

HERTFORDSHIRE -- A worker refuelling a tanker at Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, today

HERTFORDSHIRE — A worker refuelling a tanker at Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, today

BERMONDSEY, LONDON -- Motorists queue for petrol at a Tesco fuel station on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, LONDON -- Motorists queue for petrol at a Tesco fuel station on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, LONDON — Motorists queue for petrol at a Tesco fuel station on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON -- A woman refuels her car at a petrol station in London this morning as panic buying continues

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON -- A woman refuels her car at a petrol station in London this morning as panic buying continues

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON — A woman refuels her car at a petrol station in London this morning as panic buying continues

BRISTOL -- Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

BRISTOL -- Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

BRISTOL — Long queues for petrol at Asda Longwell Green in Bristol this morning as the fuel supply crisis continues

HANWELL, WEST LONDON -- A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station due to the lack of fuel in London this morning

HANWELL, WEST LONDON -- A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station due to the lack of fuel in London this morning

HANWELL, WEST LONDON — A worker closes the entrance of a petrol station due to the lack of fuel in London this morning

BRENTFORD, WEST LONDON -- Motorists queue overnight for petrol at a Shell garage in West London

BRENTFORD, WEST LONDON -- Motorists queue overnight for petrol at a Shell garage in West London

BRENTFORD, WEST LONDON — Motorists queue overnight for petrol at a Shell garage in West London

WEMBLEY, NORTH WEST LONDON -- A Twitter user posted this picture taken in Wembley today of queuing drivers and police

WEMBLEY, NORTH WEST LONDON -- A Twitter user posted this picture taken in Wembley today of queuing drivers and police

 WEMBLEY, NORTH WEST LONDON — A Twitter user posted this picture taken in Wembley today of queuing drivers and police

Petrol Retailers Association executive director Gordon Balmer told MailOnline today: ‘PRA members are reporting that whilst they are continuing to take further deliveries of fuel, this is running out quicker than usual due to unprecedented demand.

‘We would urge drivers to maintain their buying habits and only fuel up as and when needed to ensure there is plenty of fuel to go around.

‘In a PRA member survey today of 1,200 sites across the UK including motorway service areas, 52 per cent of sites have reported having both petrol and diesel in stock, 21 per cent have either one grade in stock and 27 per cent are dry.

‘We are also continuing to hear of further instances of forecourt staff experiencing a high level of both verbal and physical abuse which is completely unacceptable.

‘It is important to remember that fuel stocks remain normal at refineries and terminals, and deliveries have been reduced solely due to the shortage of HGV drivers.’

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has suggested offenders who have been given community sentences could be used to address the country’s lack of HGV drivers amid continuing concerns about fuel shortages.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced soldiers could be drafted in to drive tankers in the next couple of days to help alleviate the problem.

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Long queues of motorists trying to fill up their cars at a Morrisons petrol station today

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Long queues of motorists trying to fill up their cars at a Morrisons petrol station today

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Long queues of motorists trying to fill up their cars at a Morrisons petrol station today

A motorist walks on the M1 motorway hard shoulder today, carrying a jerry can full of petrol, after his motorbike ran out of fuel

A motorist walks on the M1 motorway hard shoulder today, carrying a jerry can full of petrol, after his motorbike ran out of fuel

A motorist walks on the M1 motorway hard shoulder today, carrying a jerry can full of petrol, after his motorbike ran out of fuel

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Long queues at Morrisons in Peckham, South East London, this morning

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Long queues at Morrisons in Peckham, South East London, this morning

PECKHAM, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Long queues at Morrisons in Peckham, South East London, this morning

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- A woman fills a bottle with petrol at a fuel station on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- A woman fills a bottle with petrol at a fuel station on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON — A woman fills a bottle with petrol at a fuel station on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- The woman is seen filling bottles next to her car on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- The woman is seen filling bottles next to her car on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON — The woman is seen filling bottles next to her car on Bayswater Road in West London today

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- Large queues at a Shell garage on Bayswater Road in London today as a man fills up jerry cans

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- Large queues at a Shell garage on Bayswater Road in London today as a man fills up jerry cans

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON — Large queues at a Shell garage on Bayswater Road in London today as a man fills up jerry cans

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- Large queues at Bayswater Road in London today as a man queues for petrol on his bicycle

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON -- Large queues at Bayswater Road in London today as a man queues for petrol on his bicycle

BAYSWATER, WEST LONDON — Large queues at Bayswater Road in London today as a man queues for petrol on his bicycle

LIVERPOOL - This Gulf garage in Merseyside appears to be back to normal today with few cars on the site

LIVERPOOL - This Gulf garage in Merseyside appears to be back to normal today with few cars on the site

LIVERPOOL – This Gulf garage in Merseyside appears to be back to normal today with few cars on the site

Mr Raab, who was made Justice Secretary in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent ministerial reshuffle, has dismissed Labour’s call for 100,000 migrant visas to be issued to provide sufficient drivers.

The former Foreign Secretary said the move would leave the country reliant in the long term on labour coming from abroad, and instead suggested the gap could be filled in another way.

‘We’ve been getting prisoners and offenders to do volunteering and unpaid work,’ Mr Raab told The Spectator, in comments carried by The Times.

‘Why not if there are shortages encourage them to do paid work where there’s a benefit for the economy, benefit for society?

‘If you give people skin in the game, give them something to lose, if you give them some hope, they’re much less likely to re-offend.’

LONDON -- A man fills up a canister with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON -- A man fills up a canister with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON — A man fills up a canister with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON -- A man refuels his car with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON -- A man refuels his car with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

VAUXHALL, SOUTH LONDON — A man refuels his car with petrol at a fuel station in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco petrol station on the Old Kent Road in London today

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco petrol station on the Old Kent Road in London today

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Queues for petrol at a Tesco petrol station on the Old Kent Road in London today

LONDON -- Out of use petrol pumps are seen at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON -- Out of use petrol pumps are seen at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON — Out of use petrol pumps are seen at a fuel station in London this morning

It comes as motorists say there is still not enough fuel despite The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA)’s latest survey of its members finding just over one-in-four had run dry, down from more than a third on Tuesday.

Ministers said they expected the situation to improve further, with the first troops driving tankers expected to appear on the roads ‘in the next couple of days’.

PRA executive director Gordon Balmer said forecourt staff were being subjected to a ‘high level’ of physical and verbal abuse from frustrated motorists.

‘There are encouraging signs that the crisis at the pumps is easing, with forecourts reporting that they are taking further deliveries of fuel,’ he said in a statement.

LONDON -- A sign indicates a lack of petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON -- A sign indicates a lack of petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON — A sign indicates a lack of petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco 24-hour station on the Old Kent Road in London today

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco 24-hour station on the Old Kent Road in London today

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Queues for petrol at a Tesco 24-hour station on the Old Kent Road in London today

LONDON -- People refuel their vehicles with petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON -- People refuel their vehicles with petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

LONDON — People refuel their vehicles with petrol and diesel at a fuel station in London this morning

‘However, we are extremely disappointed to hear many forecourt staff are experiencing a high level of both verbal and physical abuse, which is completely unacceptable.’

His warning comes amid reports of fights breaking out on forecourts with, in one case, footage appearing on social media of a man wielding a knife, as tempers boiled over during long waits to fill up.

Earlier, Mr Kwarteng said the situation appeared to be ‘stabilising’ with most people ‘behaving quite responsibly’.

As well as deploying troops, he said the Government was sending out vehicles from its reserve tanker fleet, driven by civilian drivers, to provide ‘additional logistical capacity’ to the industry.

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at Tesco on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at Tesco on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Queues for petrol at Tesco on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON -- This Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON -- This Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON — This Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco car park on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON -- Queues for petrol at a Tesco car park on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BERMONDSEY, SOUTH EAST LONDON — Queues for petrol at a Tesco car park on the Old Kent Road in London this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON -- A Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON -- A Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

BOROUGH, SOUTH LONDON — A Shell petrol station in Borough, South London, is out of fuel this morning

‘It takes, sometimes, a few days to get troops on the ground,’ Mr Kwarteng told reporters. ‘We have decided to do that.

‘I think in the next couple of days you will see some soldiers driving tankers,’ he said in a pooled clip for broadcasters.’

Altogether 150 military drivers, together with 150 drivers’ mates, have been on standby since Monday to carry out deliveries to filling stations.

Figures from the Department for Transport have shown there is a backlog of more than 56,000 applications for vocational driving licences, including HGV and bus permits, waiting to be processed.

Ministers have blamed the pandemic, which led to the cancellation last year of tens of thousands of tests.

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