Halfords has seen a surge in sales of petrol jerry cans as motorists rushed to fill up to avoid shortages of fuel in parts of the country, it was being reported today.
The reports came as ministers urged motorists to stop panic buying as this was causing the petrol shortage crisis to become even worse.
George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said: “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,” he told reporters.
An option for the army to help move supplies to ease the shortages is not being considered yet Eustice added.
Halfords, however, has apparently seen sales of cans rise by over 1,600% with the oil majors introducing limits on how much fuel can be bought after reports of people pitching up with armloads of cans.
BP, Esso, Texaco and Shell are said to have introduced a GBP30 limit on fuel purchases to deter people more than necessary.
A BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK. This is being caused by delays in our supply chain due to a shortage of qualified drivers – this issue is impacting industries across the UK.
“Most of the 1,200 sites we supply across the UK remain supplied and open. However, with the intense demand seen over the past two days, we estimate that around 30% of sites in this network do not currently have either of the main grades of fuel.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Shell said: “Since Friday we have been seeing a higher-than-normal demand across our network which is resulting in some sites running low on some grades.”
Among the other major retailers, Tesco said it is experiencing ‘temporary outages in a small number of areas.’
A Tesco spokesperson told reporters: “We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day”.
Business Secretary Kwai Kwarteng today confirmed competition laws were being relaxed to enable oil companies to target those petrol most in need of new supplies and share information over where deliveries were needed most to minimise the disruption.
According to the Petrol Retailers Association. some two-thirds of independent outlets have lower supplies than normal or are close to running out.