Long queues form at Black Country petrol stations as motorists rush to fill up

Motorists across the Black Country are being urged to stop panic buying at petrol forecourts – amid fears supplies will run dry.

Drivers have been urged not to panic buy
Drivers have been urged not to panic buy

Long queues have formed at stations across the West Midlands after reports a driver shortage was affecting fuel deliveries. Despite appeals not to panic, drivers headed to the forecourts to fill up.

BP said it was forced to close just five out of more than 1,300 forecourts – and most stations reported healthy stocks.

But today there were fears that the rush to the petrol pumps will itself create major shortages.

Across the Black Country frustrated drivers have been reporting problems at garages including BP in Kingswinford, Tesco, in Cradley Heath, Asda in Brierley Hill, and Morrisons.

Rajiv Rudra, of Jet in Wednesbury Road, in Walsall, said: "We have been very busy with lots of drivers queuing up. They are saying that Morrisons and Tesco have no petrol. We have got fuel stocks."

Meanwhile a staff member at BP's Wolverhampton Road West in Willenhall said: "We have had queues all day. We have got fuel, but at some point it will run out. We received a delivery at midnight, but we're awaiting confirmation of the next one. We don't get deliveries every day."

Some motorists are stock up with fuel in case supplies run dry

The site of drivers queuing up at petrol stations has been replicated up and down the country.

On Friday, BP said that around 20 of its 1,200 petrol forecourts were closed due to a lack of available fuel, with between 50 and 100 sites affected by the loss of at least one grade of fuel.

A "small number" of Tesco refilling stations have also been impacted, said Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites.

Talking to the BBC's Today programme Transport Secretary Grant Shapps promised he would do what is needed to ensure that petrol gets to drivers.

"I'll move heaven and Earth to do anything that's required to make sure that lorries carry on moving our goods and services and petrol around the country," he said.

Meanwhile a transport boss has spoken of the impact of fuel price rises on both shoppers and businesses. ohn Donovan, of JJX Logistics, in Kingswinford near Dudley said he was hopeful that the Road Haulage Association will lobby the government for tax concessions.

“The price is just going to keep going up. That’s going to be for everything across the board. It’s going to be difficult for people with Christmas coming just round the corner.

Queues at a Tesco Petrol Station in Dudley. Photo: @SammyCornwall2/PA Wire

“We are under severe pressure as it is. Petrol stations are struggling to get supplies due to the driver shortages.

“We have got a BP garage opposite us and they’ve got no fuel whatsoever. There’s been queues there today.

“Fuel is very expensive at the moment. We use thousands of litres per week in the UK and in Europe. The situation is having an impact on us.

“We spend about £55,000 a month on fuel and that’s excluding what we spend on fuel on the continent. That is a massive outlay and if you put a penny per litre on that then it is a lot. It is a nightmare situation.

“We are members of the Road Haulage Association, but with coming out of furlough schemes caused by Covid things are difficult. We need to some tax back, but on the other hand we have got interest rates going up. These are uncertain times,” Mr Donovan said.

Mr Shapps has denied that Brexit was the culprit in the UK's recent shortage of lorry drivers, arguing that the split from the European Union has helped the Government react.

A shortage of lorry drivers has affected the delivery of fuel to forecourts

The AA has also said that most of the UK's forecourts are working as they should amid worries over supply of petrol at some sites.

"There is no shortage of fuel and thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems," said AA president Edmund King.

"Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.

"Drivers should not fill up outside their normal routines because, even if the occasional petrol station is temporarily closed, others just down the road will be open."

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