Motorists were queuing on Monday in front of a gas station in East London that had run out of supplies after the weekend panic buying, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
“This is madness, but I rather wait here than keep driving around London and run out of the little amount of petrol … I have left in the tank,” Ahmed, a driver who was at the front of the queue, told Sputnik.
He said he needed to refill his tank “today” in order to be able to take his children to school and attend work on Tuesday.
“The government should have foreseen this in advance,” another driver said, commenting on British media reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was considering drafting the army to man tanker trucks to gas stations to tackle the crisis.
While other drivers, like Ahmed, waited in a line several blocks long, a staff member from the gas station confirmed to Sputnik that they had run out of gas and the tanker with supplies was not expected to arrive any time soon.
A Shell station on Old Brompton Road is currently closed to cars, another correspondent said, adding that all refueling units are marked with sign plates saying “Sorry, out of use.”
London residents started panic buying on September 23 after several national energy companies announced they were experiencing problems with fuel supplies due to a shortage of tanker drivers. Over the weekend, after more gas stations ran out of supply, the government said it would introduce over 10,000 temporary visas to truck drivers and poultry workers to solve the issue with the supply chain.
Late last week, a Shell spokesperson told Sputnik that the company saw an increased demand for fuel at some of its stations in light of the shortages announcement, noting that this may result in larger queues.
The government has blamed the suspension of 40,000 trucker training tests during the COVID-19 pandemic for the shortage, but the Road Haulage Association claimed that around 20,000 foreign drivers had left the country after Brexit put an end to the free movement of persons between the European Union and the UK.