The first “very tentative signs of stabilisation” are being seen on petrol forecourts, the transport secretary has said, following days of long queues and closed pumps at some filling stations across the country.
Grant Shapps said the sooner people returned to their normal habits and stopped panic buying petrol and diesel, the sooner the fuel shortage crisis would ease.
“A lot of petrol is now being transferred into people’s cars and there are now the first very tentative signs of stabilisation in the forecourt storage which won’t be reflected in the queues as yet, but it’s the first time we’ve seen more petrol in the petrol stations itself,” he said.
“I think as the industry said yesterday the sooner we can all return to our normal buying habits, the sooner the situation will return to normal.
“We all need to play our part and certainly don’t do things like bring water bottles to petrol stations, it is dangerous and extremely unhelpful.”
Responding to criticism that government action – such as putting the Army on standby to deliver fuel where it is needed the most – has been slow, the cabinet minister said “numerous different measures” had been put in place since April to remedy the supply crisis which has been caused by a shortage of fuel tanker drivers.
“We have already put 18 different steps in place, which I should say stretch right the way back to the spring,” he said.
“Remembering that this problem is almost entirely caused by coronavirus and the inability during lockdowns to test new HGV drivers. We have lost 30,000 HGV drivers through that process.”