This is how petrol stations are looking in Sunderland as Government and AA urge people not to ‘panic buy’
Petrol stations across Sunderland appear to be quiet as the Environment Secretary calls on motorists to stop “panic buying”.
Across Wearside on Monday, September 27, petrol stations appeared to be quiet, with no more than a few motorists queuing for fuel at any one time.
It comes as the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said there was not a shortage of fuel and called on motorists to stop “panic buying” petrol and return to their normal pattern of purchasing.
Shell, ExxonMobile and other fuel industry bodies have insisted there is no “national shortage of fuel” and that the pressures on supply were the result of “temporary spikes in customer demand”.
Mr Eustice blamed motorists for filling up when they did not need to, saying: “The most important thing is that people buy petrol as they normally would.
“There isn’t a shortage. There have been some shortages of HGV drivers getting petrol to forecourts but actually that is quite limited.
“The cause of these current problems is that panic-buying episode and the most important thing is for people to start buying petrol as they normally would.
“There does come a point – as we saw during a previous episode of panic-buying during the pandemic on food – where things settle down and people get used to it, and return to life as normal again.
“The sooner people do that the better. The only reason we don’t have petrol on the forecourts is that people are buying petrol they don’t need.”
The panic buying spree was sparked last week after concerns from BP were leaked that the shortage of lorry drivers could impact upon its ability to keep up with fuel deliveries.
The surge in demand led to warnings from the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) that as many as two thirds of its membership of nearly 5,500 independent outlets were out of fuel on Sunday, September 26, with the rest of them “partly dry and running out soon”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the Government was creating 5,000 three-month visas for foreign lorry drivers in an attempt to ease the pressure on the industry.
He said: “For the vast majority of drivers there is no need to rush to the pumps, and we urge people to only fill up when essential. There is no need to top up ‘just in case’.
“Millions of drivers changed their refuelling habits this weekend, but once a tank is full it can’t be topped up. This short-term increase in demand should slow and allow forecourts time to restock. We anticipate things will return to normal within the coming days.
“Drivers also need to be careful because this weekend we have seen a dramatic rise in misfuelling (putting in the wrong fuel) compared to last weekend.
“This in turn unnecessarily reduces the fuel available as the whole tank has to be drained before refilling with the correct fuel."