Petrol stations impose £30 fuel limit as motorists panic buy amid lorry driver shortage

·3 min read
A man carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire. Picture date: Saturday September 25, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man carrying containers at a Tesco Petrol Station in Bracknell, Berkshire. (Getty)

Almost 350 petrol stations across the country have imposed a £30 fuel limit after motorists filled up their tanks over fears of a shortage.

Pictures from around the UK showed worried drivers panic buying fuel for a second day, with massive queues building up, despite the government insisting there was plenty available.

EG Group, which runs 341 petrol stations in the UK, has now imposed a £30 limit per driver due to the "unprecedented customer demand".

Shell, BP, Esso and Tesco all had problems with fuel supply on Friday and were forced to close some forecourts.

Watch: Dozens of Cars Queue Outside London Fuel Station Amid Panic Buy Warning

NORTHWICH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 24: An aerial view of people queuing for petrol and diesel at a Tesco's Supermarket on September 24, 2021 in Northwich, United Kingdom. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
An aerial view of people queuing for petrol at a Tesco in Northwich. (Getty)
HELSTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: A garage owner's sign notifying customers of a £30 limit to their fuel purchases is displayed at a Texaco franchise garage on September 24, 2021 in Helston, England. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply.  (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
A sign notifying customers of a £30 limit to their fuel purchases is displayed at a Texaco. (Getty)

BP said between 50 to 100 of their 1,200 petrol stations had run out of at least one fuel type, and 20 were completely closed on Friday.

The company added it was prioritising fuel deliveries to sites with the highest demand and seeking to minimise the amount of time its petrol and diesel pumps were empty.

A handful of Shell’s 1,000 gas stations also ran out of fuel.

"We are adapting our delivery schedules to ensure sufficient supplies for our customers," a spokesperson said, adding that rising demand "may in some instances result in larger queues."

After the news of BP and Tesco were struggling to keep some of their forecourts fully stocked people began swarming petrol stations to get fuel.

Images from London, Berkshire, Essex, Weymouth, Brighton and Northwich showed closed petrol stations and massive queues.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: A man looks on as drivers queue to enter a supermarket petrol station as concern spreads over fuel supplies on September 24, 2021 in Brighton, England. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Queues outside an Asda supermarket in Brighton. (Getty)
WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: A sign reading 'Sorry we're out of diesel' is seen at a BP petrol station on September 24, 2021 in Weymouth, England. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
A sign reading 'Sorry we're out of diesel' is seen at a BP petrol station in Weymouth. (Getty)

Ministers and businesses have stressed there is no shortage of petrol, saying the problem is transporting fuel from depots to forecourts.

Several companies that run petrol stations, including Esso, BP and Tesco, have warned they were being "impacted" by the shortage of HGV drivers, making it increasingly hard to get fuel to their forecourts.

The UK is expected to ease visa rules for truck drivers to help fix supply-chain problems that have triggered long lines at gas stations and some shuttered pumps.

The government said late Friday it was “looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems.”

It said any action it took would be “very strictly time-limited.”

The problems at petrol stations are just the latest economy sector to be hit by the shortage of lorry drivers.

The UK currently lacks around 100,000 HGV drivers and businesses are piling pressure on the government to ease immigration rules to allow more drivers to come to the UK.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 24: A queue forms for an Esso petrol station on September 24, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A queue forms for an Esso petrol station n London. (Getty)
Cars queue outside a Tesco petrol station in Slough, Berkshire. Picture date: Saturday September 25, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Cars queue outside a Tesco petrol station in Slough. (Getty)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Out of service signs on fuel pumps at a Shell garage which is out of all fuel on September 25, 2021 in Grove Park, London, United Kingdom. BP and Esso have announced that its ability to transport fuel from refineries to its branded petrol station forecourts is being impacted by the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers and as a result, it will be rationing deliveries to ensure continuity of supply. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Out of service signs on fuel pumps at a Shell garage in London. (Getty)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the government for the shortages.

Speaking to reporters outside the Labour Party conference in Brighton, he said: "We're obviously in a crucial time for the country and this government is letting people down so badly, whether it is hammering working people on tax and Universal Credit, whether it is shortages of food and fuel.

"I've just been up the road [and seen] three petrol stations, one of them with a massive queue and two of them with no fuel.

"So this is our opportunity to set out the alternatives, set out the vision, set out our ideas, and we're all really looking forward to this. Thank you so much."

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