Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Petrol prices: Incredible chart exposes staggering extent of fuel crisis

Brit stuck in two-hour queue for supermarket due to petrol chaos

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Petrol stations were in high demand with long queues forming outside and some forecourts forced to put limits on the amount people can top-up. Many filling stations ran completely dry at the end of last month with Government figures now showing the average fuel stock level was 25 percent on Sunday – compared to 33 percent before the crisis and more than 40 percent before the Covid pandemic.

Average petrol sales for the last four weeks as a whole were in line with a typical week before the first lockdown, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published on October 7.

However, there was a significant rise in the five days from Friday, September 24.

Sales skyrocketed by 80 percent on the Friday and remained at high levels until the middle of the next week.

At that time, petrol sales began to trend back to normal levels.

As a result of these surges, stock levels in sampled filling stations dropped significantly – falling to a low of 15 percent on September 25.

This figure gradually increased during the following week as deliveries outpaced sales.

Closing stocks on October 3 were at 25 percent across Britain as a whole.

But there was a huge discrepancy between different areas with a low of 16 percent in the South East and a high of 35 percent in Scotland.

This compares to a typical average of 43 percent before Covid.

The Government’s data reveals the stock levels at each region in the UK on October 3 was as follows:

  • Scotland: 35 percent
  • North East: 33 percent
  • Wales: 30 percent
  • North West: 28 percent
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: 28 percent
  • South West: 26 percent
  • West Midlands: 26 percent
  • England: 23 percent
  • East Midlands: 22 percent
  • East of England: 19 percent
  • London: 18 percent
  • South East: 16 percent.

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The shortages have been particularly acute in London, the South East and the East of England.

The South East is struggling the most with fuel stock levels remaining below 20 percent.

Petrol stations in London and eastern England have slightly higher stocks at between 20 percent and 40 percent capacity.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has accused the Government of “inept prioritisation”, adding fuel supplies have been sent to “the wrong parts of the country”.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “We do not know when the deliveries are arriving and we do not know how they are being prioritised.

“The return to normal fuel volumes continues to be blighted by the current inept prioritisation policy.”

The PRA said a survey it carried out found 12 percent of filling stations in London and the South East are still dry, while 17 percent have just one grade of fuel.

Outside the most deprived areas, 90 percent of forecourts had both grades compared with 71 percent in London and the South East.

Petrol retailers are calling for an inquiry into the supply crisis with a trade body claiming deliveries were just too slow.

The PRA said recovery is “simply not happening quickly enough”.

The body suggested both motorists and forecourt owners need protection to prevent the crisis from taking place again.

Mr Madderson added: “The recovery is simply not happening quickly enough. We are into our 15th day of the crisis.

“There needs to be an independent inquiry into the crisis so that motorists are protected from such acute fuel shortages in the future.”

The Government switch to greener petrol was a “major factor” behind the fuel crisis according to the Telegraph.

Greener E10 fuel, which is blended with a minimum of 5.5 percent biofuel, was introduced on September 1 and spare fuel stores have fallen dramatically since that time according to recent figures and the PRA.

E10 fuel is now the standard unleaded petrol in the UK.

Previously, the regular unleaded fuel was E5, although E10 had been on sale in some regions of the UK.

Mr Madderson told The Telegraph: “For weeks we had been emptying our tanks of E5, the old fuel, as fast as we could to get ready for E10. We had all run our petrol stocks down.”

He said the panic buying of fuel was an “unintended consequence” but it meant many petrol stations ran out of fuel quickly leading to massive shortages.

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