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UK could deploy army to deliver fuel as drivers panic buy gasoline


A queue forms for an Esso petrol station on September 24, 2021 in London.

Getty Images Dan Kitwood| Getty Images

Britain could bring in the army to deliver gasoline after a weekend of panic buying left gas stations around the country without fuel.

As drivers tried to get fuel, long queues formed outside U.K. stations.

A major lack of truck drivers has meant deliveries of fuel and goods have recently fallen short in Britain.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be considering using military personnel to deliver fuel to gas stations, according to British media reports.

KwasiKwarteng, Business Minister, stated on Sunday that the UK exempted the oil industry from competition laws. He said this would permit companies to exchange information and priority the delivery of fuel to those most in dire need.

Meanwhile, thousands of truck drivers are set to be granted temporary U.K. visas in the run-up to Christmas, in an attempt to limit supply disruption ahead of the festive period.

CNBC reached out for a spokesperson from the U.K. government, but they were unable to respond immediately.

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the U.K.’s Petrol Retailers Association, told LBC News on Monday that temporary visas would ease supply constraints to an extent, but added that it was not enough. Balmer said that he was hopeful the government would consider measures such as drafting soldiers.

He said that while many have filled up their tanks over the weekend, most people fill up only once per month. It might provide some relief to begin replenishing stocks over the next few day.

Sky News was told by the PRA on Monday that large gasoline retailers reported that between 50% and 90% of all their stations in English cities had run out.

BP announced on Friday that certain of its stations were temporarily closed due to a lack of unleaded or diesel petrol. 

“These have been caused by some delays in the supply chain which has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortages across the U.K. and there are many actions being taken to address the issue,” a spokesperson said.

To minimize disruptions in the future and provide efficient, effective delivery to our customers’ needs, we will work closely with our haulier supplier. Prioritizing delivery to the most in-demand sites and minimizing stockouts are our priorities.