The UK is facing a fuel crisis that is “getting worse” in some areas, where long queues at petrol stations have caused traffic jams including at intersections. Although oil companies say that there’s enough supply of fuel, there are not enough HGV drivers to deliver the supply at filling stations across the country.
As a result, people looking to have their vehicles served at petrol stations have caused traffic congestions described as gridlocked, a situation in which vehicular movements become impossible. This has been the situation for two weeks now in some areas, particularly in London and in the southeast.
The Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, Brian Madderson, asserts that the situation remains “critical” and not at all stabilised as claimed by government ministers.
Although the British government has the authority to limit that amount of fuel that people can buy, the government has not exercised its power. Leaving it to petrol station owners to impose a £30 cap on the amount of fuel that each driver can buy.
What Triggered the HGV Driver Shortage in the UK?
According to the British Petroleum company, which serves 1,200 petron stations in the UK, including 300 stations operated by the BP as part of its supply chain, they had to temporarily close some stations due to a nationwide lack of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers. The HGV driver shortage has caused supply chain delays that in turn, have led to the shortage of unleaded and diesel fuel supply in filling stations.
While UK oil companies are saying that there is more than enough supply of petrol but the main issue is that there is not enough HGV drivers to deliver the supply to filling stations. The country needs at least 100,000 additional HGV drivers, but not just the usual truck drivers. Specifically the petroleum industry need fuel tanker drivers who, in addition to their HGV license. possess safety qualifications that will enable them to transport chemicals.
Actually, the HGV driver shortage has been ongoing for quite some time ever since Brexit, but worsened during the pandemic. Other industries have also been impacted by the shortage of heavy goods truck drivers — from retailers, to supermarkets and fast food chains.
Although BP warned about the possible occurrence of fuel shortage in September 23, the oil firm gave assurance that only a handful of sites would be adversely affected by the driver shortage issue. However, the warning given last September triggered the build up of vehicles in petroleum station as vehicle owners wanted to make sure they will not run out of petrol, if it will take longer for filling stations to replenish their supply.
In order to lessen the agitation, BP issued a statement that they are working hard to resolve the issues. The UK has been hit hard by the HGV driver shortage as many drivers returned to Europe after Brexit introduced border bureaucracies that have affected the income of those working as HGV drivers in the UK.
The pandemic made the situation worse as only a few of the drivers who went home during the health crisis, returned to the UK.