Between 50% and 90% of independent forecourts are ‘out of fuel’ as frenzied panic buying reaches new lows across the UK.
Chaos has been sparked as drivers stockpile amid a national shortage of tanker drivers, as the Government insists there is plenty of fuel to go around.
Thousands of petrol stations have now run dry, with experts warning up to nine in ten independent petrol stations now have none – and others will ‘run out soon’.
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association which represents around 5,500 independent outlets, has warned panic buying has caused ‘serious problems’ for stock levels
‘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.
‘We have seen another phenomenon which is that the oil companies, perhaps rightly, have been giving motorway service areas priority delivery, and so people are now flocking on to motorways wherever they have one nearby and buying fuel from the motorways.
‘One of them mentioned to me that yesterday they had a 500% increase in demand compared to a week ago, which is quite extraordinary.’
The UK has roughly 8,000 petrol stations, with most of these run by independent retailers.
BP said on Sunday 30% of its service stations ‘do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has asked people ‘to be sensible and fill up when you normally would’ in an effort to end the pandemonium.
But his pleas have been unsuccessful, as ambulances are delayed by huge queues and fights break out at pumps.
One ambulance was forced to stop on Saturday after crashing into a gridlocked vehicle in Bromley, south London.
The South Central Ambulance Service says crews are ‘being delayed at some petrol stations as they join the queue to refuel’.