BP and ministers report petrol shortage crisis might be easing

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BP PLC (LSE:BP.) said today that the petrol shortage caused by a lack of tanker delivery drivers might be starting to ease.


A week ago it was a report that BP had closed some stations due to fuel supply problems that sparked panic buying of fuel across the country,


The oil firm told the BBC that long queues on its forecourts “appear to be stabilising” and that it is starting to see a small rise in stock across its network.


BP, which has 1,200 petrol stations across the UK of which it directly operates 300, added it was still “working flat out” to keep sites across the country supplied.


Policing minister Kit Malthouse also said the supply situation had improved, but added motorists might face at least another week of disruption.


The government has issued temporary visas to foreign tanker drivers to help ease the situation and is using its reserve fleet of around 80 tankers to move fuel, though it has not yet deployed 150 Army drivers put on standby earlier in the week in case the situation worsens.


Independent station trade body the Petrol Retailers Association today reported that 26% of its members were out of fuel on Friday, a slight improvement on Thursday.


The Times also said the shortages were more acute in the south, with supplies getting through more easily in northern sites.


Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA, said: “PRA members are reporting that whilst they are continuing to take further deliveries of fuel, this is running out quicker than usual due to unprecedented demand,” but added that efforts to ease the crisis were having some effect.


“There is co-ordination now across the country looking at where there are pockets of supply problems and demand strength and trying to bring the two into balance.”


AA president Edmund King said: “Most drivers have managed to find fuel, but might have had to travel to several filling stations or to queue.


“A large proportion of drivers changed their refuelling habits over the last five days, and this should now allow forecourts to restock and find their feet again”


The number of car journeys this week was the lowest since the ending of lockdown in July, the Department of Transport reported earlier this week.

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