Fuel shortages in the UK this weekend were exacerbated by “panic buying”, so the government is considering using the military to ease tanker shortages, according to the press.
Long queues formed this weekend in front of many gas stations, especially in big cities and in the capital, London. On Monday, about 30% of service stations belonging to giant BP were affected by the fuel shortage. “One of our members picked up a container at noon and by the end of the afternoon it was completely gone” in people’s cars, Brian Maderson, president of the Petroleum Retailers Association (PRA) told the BBC.
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The newspaper “The Sun” quoted a medical assistant who had to go to three gas stations and wait for a long time. “Now I am late to visit my patients who need me for their meals and medicines,” the health professional told the newspaper, crying. The increase in demand for gasoline led the People’s Republic of China to warn that as many as two-thirds of its members, about 5,500 independent gas stations out of the country’s 8,000, had very little fuel on Sunday and that the rest “were almost empty of anything.” .”
In recent days, despite the government’s attempts to reassure the population, a large number of citizens rushed to gas stations, fearing that they would run out of fuel, considering that the stores also suffer from a shortage of agricultural food products. The situation is reminiscent of the 1970s, when the energy crisis led to fuel rationing and a three-day working week. About ten years ago, protests over high gasoline prices laid siege to refineries and paralyzed activity in the country for weeks.
The shortage is mainly due to a shortage of carriers, so the British executive decided on Saturday to amend its post-Brexit immigration policy and grant up to 10,500 temporary work visas, for a period of three months. These permits should alleviate a shortage of truck drivers and staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.
The Minister of Companies and Energy, Kwasi Quarting, indicated in a statement, Sunday, that he has temporarily exempted the hydrocarbon distribution sector from competition rules, so that they can supply as a priority to the regions that need it most. On Sky News, Maderson blamed this panic move on a “leak of confidential BP report during a government meeting”, “released on Wednesday” and followed by “panic buying on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday”.
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In addition, according to the British press, the government plans for the army, in the short term, to meet this shortage. As for whether this measure could improve the situation, Maderson spoke with caution. “It is not as easy as you think, because truck drivers are very specialized” and tanker trucks transport “highly flammable liquid across the country,” which requires proper loading and unloading procedures.
On the other hand, Maderson stressed that due to the pandemic, many people have not been able to get a truck driver’s license and that the transportation shortage is also affecting continental Europe. However, the person in charge hopes that the problem will be at least partially resolved “by the end of the week,” he said.
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