Huge queues at Northampton petrol stations as drivers fear fuel shortage

Car owners ignore pleas not to panic buy

By Kevin Nicholls
Friday, 24th September 2021, 11:29 pm
A marshall was posted at Sainsbury's to help cars in and out of the pumps
A marshall was posted at Sainsbury's to help cars in and out of the pumps

Huge queues were seen at two of Northampton's busiest petrol stations on Friday morning (September 24) despite warnings not to panic buy fuel.

Footage of the Tesco garage at Mereway showed cars lining up to reach pumps in the wake of BP saying yesterday that had closed a "handful" of its forecourts due to a lock of available fuel.

And at vehicles were queueing outside Sainsbury's in Weedon Road with staff marshalling traffic in an out.

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The tweet, from the wife of a van driver stuck at Tesco, said: "I see some people didn't get the don't panic buy fuel memo."

Oil giant BP revealed it is restricting deliveries to at least 50 of its 1,200 petrol stations because of a shortage of lorry drivers.

A "small number" of Tesco refilling stations are also impacted according Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to drivers to keep calm and not panic buy petrol.

He said: "The advice would be to carry on as normal, and that is what BP is saying as well.

"BP, when we spoke to them last night, said that five out of 1,200 forecourts were unable to stay open — so just to put that in proportion.

"There’s plenty of fuel in the refineries, there’s no shortage of fuel, it is only the question of the delivery and it’s not the situation as we’ve seen in the country before, where the distribution network’s on strike or blockaded or anything like that."

Supply issues are down to a national shortage of HGV drivers — which is also impacting waste collections in Northampton and Daventry.

The AA attempted to reassure motorists that there is "no shortage of fuel" and "thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems.".

Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: "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.

"It is now clear that there have been occasional delays over recent weeks that have been managed with hardly anyone noticing. This was a manageable problem."