London and the South East are lagging the rest of the UK in restoring fuel supplies at petrol stations following a national “panic buying frenzy” which led to thousands of stations running dry.
The panic buying of fuel last week led to a large increase in demand nationally, with many of Britain’s independent petrol stations unable to cope. The fuel crisis started when a number of petrol stations were shut due to a lack of HGV drivers transporting petrol and diesel. The problem was compounded when more worried drivers fearing a shortage started to fill up their cars over a 24-48 period, leaving many petrol stations dry, and causing a panic.
The Petrol Retailers Association reported Wednesday that 13% of independent petrol stations still had no fuel in London and the South East. This was despite the army being drafted into help fill the gap with approximately 200 service personnel involved in the re-fuelling operation that began on Monday.
With petrol stations all requiring re-fills at the same time due to extraordinary demand, the already strained supply chain and lack of HGV drivers led to longer waiting times for deliveries, with many retailers still catching up.
As London and the South East emerge from the pandemic, and people begin to go back into the offices, there’s more demand for fuel and higher volumes of car traffic.
Petrol prices spiked this week to an 8-year high after the surge in demand while gas supplies and a power crunch in Europe have also played a factor in surging energy costs.