Petrol sales rose by 45 per cent yesterday (Wednesday 28 March) as motorists followed Government advice to ‘top up their tanks’ – but many filling stations are now running low on stocks and some have even sold out of fuel.
No. 10: fill up now to avoid strike disruption
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Tanker drivers vote to go on strike
PM David Cameron has encouraged motorists to stock up on fuel as a precaution, following a vote by filling station tanker drivers to go on strike. The date of the walkout has not been announced – the union has to give seven days’ notice – but motorists have still begun stockpiling fuel.
Yesterday’s rise in petrol sales was revealed by RMI Petrol Chairman Brian Madderson, who also said that diesel demand was up 20 per cent.
He told the BBC’s World at One that the Government “appear intent on creating a crisis out of a serious concern”.
Cashflow is so tight at filling stations, many are running the lowest stock levels ever, which means they can easily sell out of fuel if there is a rush on demand. “We weren’t given the opportunity to put that information across to the Government, so when we hear today that the Government are trying to encourage stockpiling, we think that’s just completely wrong.
“Cool heads must prevail here, otherwise we are going to run out of stock rather quickly – and by cool heads, that means the Government as well.”
Madderson explained that fleet operators, company cars and van drivers are not rushing to panic-buy, revealed by the lower increase in diesel sales – the main fleet fuel.
However, petrol is predominately the fuel of private motorists and the 45 per cent increase in sales suggests many are rushing to the pumps to stock up.
Cabinet Minister Francis Maude has also been criticised for encouraging motorists to fill up jerry cans with fuel and store it in their garage – with some motoring organisations actually pointing out this advice is illegal.
Apart from the risk of storing fuel at home, it is against the law to store more than two five-litre cans of fuel at home, yet the average jerry can holds around 20 litres.
The Fire Brigade Union said the advice was “wrong and must be withdrawn