Summer Madness has come early in the UK. Hot weather, a lack of rain and a possible fuel shortage. Supplies of fuel were fine but, with the threat of a possible strike by fuel tanker drivers, the Government has proceeded to make matters worse.
March 28, 2012, Government Minister Francis Maude and UK PM Cameron offered citizens advice. Instead of offering advice on how to economise fuel usage and get better mileage the advice seemed to simply but to panic buy.
It may have been dressed up to sound different but in the end UK drivers did just that, and went on a panic buying spree.As usual this spread like wild fire. Those who perhaps had no intention of panic buying fuel felt pressured to join in. After all to wait could mean that pumps had dried up by the time you wanted to buy. Each driver interviewed had what they thought were valid reasons for "having to buy fuel".
A vicious circle of queues at petrol pumps, lack of supplies and yes already an increase in prices has begun. UK fuel is already at a record high but today the price at some filling stations has increased further. A shortage always does this. Some people have even wondered if the government tried to create a short for various reasons. One reason would be to undermine the Unions and damage any strike. The other would be to rake in a much higher level of fuel duty as the financial year in the UK draws to a close.
Since the last strike by these workers in 2000, in the UK the number of petrol stations across the UK has dropped considerably. This adds to the problem.
People are already taking the car out when they would not have, simply to drive around and find a filling station with fuel The latest news is that Police have had to close some fuel stations as tempers began to flare and the safety of other road users was under attack. Those panic buying are filling up Jerry cans too and the situation looks wet to worsen.
Update: Sky News have reported that, "According to the AA, the number of customers who raced to buy petrol on Tuesday could have earned the Treasury an extra £32m in fuel excise duty." Well, well, well!
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog