British motorists queued for fuel again on Wednesday (September 29) while other gas stations were out of supply after days of shortages.
Britain has been gripped by a rush of panic-buying for almost a week that has left pumps dry across major cities, after oil companies warned they did not have enough tanker drivers to move petrol and diesel from refineries to filling stations.
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said 150 soldiers had been mobilised, and would be driving tankers within a few days.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to quell concerns, saying supplies were returning to normal while also urging people not to panic buy.
A shortage of around 100,000 drivers has sown chaos through supply chains and raised the spectre of empty shelves and price increases at Christmas.
Industry groups said the worst of the shortages seemed to be in London, the southeast and other English cities.
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents independent retailers who account for about two-thirds of all the 8,380 UK filling stations, said on Tuesday (September 28) 37% its members’ stations were out of fuel.
Britain left the EU single market at the start of this year, preventing hauliers from recruiting drivers in the bloc. To tackle the shortage, the government has said it will issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign drivers, a measure it had previously ruled out.
Hauliers, petrol stations and retailers say there are no quick fixes as the shortfall of drivers is so acute, and transporting fuel demands training and licensing. European drivers may also be reluctant to take up the visa offer, which only lasts until Dec. 24.