• September 29, 2021

  • Abby Nuttall

In the last few days, we’ve all seen the news about there being a shortage of petrol and diesel at the fuel pumps, as well as the HGV drivers needed to bring more fuel to them.

We wanted to assure you and your fleet drivers that there is no fuel shortage and though there are some temporary station closures due to panic buying there is a steady supply into the UK.  

There has been a shortage of HGV drivers for some time, and we mentioned this in last week’s post. The government has been working in the background to minimise the impact that the current driver shortage has on the general public, and we have seen this be successful on the whole.

Since July the rules on HGV driving hours have been relaxed to allow drivers a few more hours on the road to try and combat the shortage of available drivers. Though this isn’t a long-term solution is has helped temporarily and continues to do so for UK haulage companies to avoid shortages in shops and fuel stations.

The hours have increased from a limit of 9 hours on four days a week and 10 hours on another two days to a limit of 10 hours for all working days, and on two of those up to 11 hours.

As this is a temporary fix then you might have seen fuel stations running low or having to close some of their pumps previously, as well as this past week of more frequent closures.

We urge you to advise your drivers to avoid panic buying based on the current media coverage, as this can create a self-fulfilling prophecy where many drivers fill up and create a shortage that the regular supply chain cannot keep up with given the current driver shortages.

Drivers should fill up at appropriate times only when needed to avoid adding to this problem and we advise sticking to the three tips below:

  • Only refuel when needed and don’t panic buy
  • Keep fuel above 1/4 of a tank to avoid running out nearby a fuel station that may be closed due to temporary shortages
  • Check you have sufficient funds / the fuel card you have is accepted before filling up

You might also want drivers to read this post on our top tips for making the most of a tank of fuel.

Fuel Cards in a Fuel Shortage

A lot of businesses offer their drivers fuel cards that they use to pay for their petrol or diesel at the garage.

These cards are great because they offer companies and their drivers a number of benefits, but during the current climate you might find your drivers are worried about whether they can use them.

 Although we do not expect the current shortages we are seeing to be anything other than temporary, and already many stations have had their supply refueled after weekend closures, we know that some stations are putting restrictions in place.

Stations might be restricting the amount you can purchase, putting a limit such as £30 or 30 litres, to ensure that more drivers can get necessary fuel and to avoid panic buyers filling up their tank or multiple containers.

Another restriction your drivers might see is particular fuel card networks not being accepted on a particular forecourt. This is one that we are seeing at a limited number of garages, and we want to assure drivers that this should not be a long-term restriction.  

The number of sites not accepting fuel cards, or particular types of fuel cards, is minimal and they are likely to be bunker sites that are waiting for their regular fuel delivery.

Some petrol stations have always been particular about the type of fuel cards that they accept, which is why we always advise drivers to check their fuel card is accepted before using the pump.

A representative of DRIVEcard, one of the fuel card providers Wessex Fleet works with has advised: “The ‘Panic Buying’ mentality influenced by the media coverage is unnecessary.  And we would urge you not to Panic Buy.

Whilst we are seeing long queues at forecourts and fuel stations showing signs to say ‘out of fuel’ we believe this to be a direct result of panic buying. 

As a business DRIVEcard provide access to a number of Fuel card networks and we are seeing an increase to usage as a result of panic buying.”

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