Gas Situation in the UK Is a Little Crazy Right Now

Shortage of truck drivers so severe that troops may have to fill in
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 27, 2021 10:40 AM CDT
Gas Situation in the UK Is a Little Crazy Right Now
A sign related to the outbreak of panic-buying is seen at a gas station in Manchester, England, on Monday.   (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Lines of cars formed at British gas stations for a fourth day on Monday, as the government mulled sending in the army to help ease the supply disruptions triggered by a shortage of truck drivers. As unions called for emergency workers to be given priority for fuel supplies, Petrol Retailers Association Chairman Brian Madderson said training had been taking place "in the background" for military personnel to drive tankers, per the AP. The government said it had "no plans at the moment" to deploy troops, but was making preparations just in case.

The association, which represents almost 5,500 independent outlets, said Sunday that about two-thirds of its members had run out of fuel, as the truck driver shortage set off rounds of gas panic-buying. Long lines of vehicles have formed at many gas stations around Britain since Friday, causing spillover traffic jams on busy roads. Tempers have frayed as some drivers waited for hours. The Conservative government insisted the UK had "ample fuel stocks" and blamed the problems on consumer behavior.

"The only reason we don't have [gas] ... is that people are buying [gas] they don't need," said Environment Secretary George Eustice. The haulage industry says the UK is short as many as 100,000 truckers, due to a perfect storm of factors including the coronavirus pandemic, an aging workforce, and an exodus of foreign workers following Britain's departure from the European Union last year. Government ministers were meeting Monday to discuss the fuel squeeze.

(Read more gas shortage stories.)

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