Watch as the UK’s gas shortage turned into a crisis overnight







Average fuel sales and deliveries per petrol station

September 24th Fuel sales rose to almost double the previous Friday’s total as bottlenecks at some gas stations made headlines.

Fuel deliveries increased a few days later, but came too late to avert a crisis.

Typical sales and delivery sample

Average fuel sales and deliveries per petrol station

Typical pattern of

Sales and deliveries

September 24th Fuel sales rose to almost double the previous Friday’s total as bottlenecks at some gas stations made headlines.

Fuel deliveries increased a few days later, but came too late to avert a crisis.

Average fuel sales and deliveries per petrol station

Typical pattern of

Sales and deliveries

September 24th Fuel sales rose to almost double the previous Friday’s total as bottlenecks at some gas stations made headlines.

Fuel deliveries increased a few days later, but came too late to avert a crisis.

Average fuel sales and deliveries per petrol station

September 24th Fuel sales rose to almost double the previous Friday’s total as bottlenecks at some gas stations made headlines.

Fuel deliveries increased a few days later, but came too late to avert a crisis.

Typical sales and delivery sample


Source: UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy | Note: The data is a sample that covers approximately 80 percent of typical gas sales. 10,000 liters equals 2,642 gallons.

New government data shows how the persistent fuel shortage in the UK turned into a crisis overnight. On September 24, panicked motorists bought twice as much fuel as the previous week, while deliveries to most petrol stations remained at normal levels.

After widespread closings of gas stations and long lines clogging the streets, the worst of the crisis now seems to be receding.

In the south-east and London, however, supplies remain restricted and the military has been deployed. Around 200 soldiers drive gas tankers and provide logistical support. According to the petrol station association, 12 percent of the petrol stations in these areas are still without fuel.


Fuel supplies have started to recover across the country, but London and the South East are still lagging behind other regions

Average inventories at sampled filling stations





Fuel supplies are

usually around

40-50%.

Fuel supplies in the southeast recovered the slowest.

Fuel supplies are

usually around

40-50%.

Fuel supplies are

usually around

40-50%.

Fuel supplies in the southeast recovered the slowest.

Fuel supplies are

usually around

40-50%.

Fuel supplies in the southeast recovered the slowest.


Source: UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy | Note: The data is a sample that covers approximately 80 percent of typical gas sales.

The cause is not the fuel supply itself, but a chronic lack of trained drivers for the deliveries, said government officials.

The fuel crisis was the most visible impact of the truck driver shortage, which is hindering the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic. And as Christmas approaches, companies could face more challenges. Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, a trade association, said supermarkets alone need about 15,000 additional truck drivers to avoid disruption this Christmas.

The long-term problems of the commercial transport industry were exacerbated by Brexit and the pandemic. The workforce is typically older and new drivers are expensive to train.

Today there are 30,000 fewer truck drivers than there were a year ago. Brits have left the industry in droves, and deteriorating roadside facilities and grueling hours away from home have not encouraged new workers to join.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied that Brexit is causing the driver shortage and has instead singled out the trucking industry for underinvestment.

“The fact is, they haven’t put any money in truck stops, in conditions, in pay,” said Johnson, “so there is no offer of young people in this country who are honestly thinking of becoming trucks right now.” Drivers . ”

However, analysts say the UK’s exit from the European Union has shrunk the labor market and companies are taking time to adjust. According to the Road Haulage Association, an industry group campaigning for more visas for drivers, the UK is missing up to 100,000 truckers, 20 percent of whom have left the EU since the UK voted to leave the European Union.


The British are responsible for two-thirds of the drop in truck drivers

Change in the number of employed truck drivers by nationality

Source: UK Office for National Statistics | Note: The data shows the change in truck driver employment in the United Kingdom from July 2019 to June 2020 compared to the same period through June this year.

Because of the pandemic, the supply of newly trained drivers is scarcer than ever. More than 40,000 people typically pass their truck driving exams each year, but these dropped to just 16,000 last year when national bans on driving test centers closed, creating a huge backlog.






The number of people who passed the truck test fell by 25,000 last year compared to the previous year

The number of exams passed has decreased by more than 60 percent at every test center in Scotland.

Year-on-year decline

in passed exams

The size of the circles depends on the number of tests passed in the period 2019-20

At the Transport Training Academy in Manchester, only 439 people passed their exams last year, up from 1,207 the previous year.

There were 75 percent fewer exams passed at the Enfield test center.

The number of people who passed the truck test fell by 25,000 last year compared to the previous year

Acceptance of passed exams in a year-on-year comparison

The size of the circles depends on the number of tests passed in 2019-20.

At the Transport Training Academy in Manchester, only 439 people passed their exams last year, up from 1,207 the previous year.

There were 75 percent fewer exams passed at the Enfield test center.

The number of people who passed the truck test fell by 25,000 last year compared to the previous year

Acceptance of passed exams in a year-on-year comparison

The size of the circles depends on the number of tests passed in 2019-20.

The number of exams passed has decreased by more than 60 percent at every test center in Scotland.

At the Transport Training Academy in Manchester, only 439 people passed their exams last year, up from 1,207 the previous year.

There were 75 percent fewer exams passed at the Enfield test center.


Source: UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency | Note: The map only shows test centers with data for the period July 2019 to June 2020 and for the same period up to June 2021.

Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said it would take at least 18 months to train enough drivers to meet demand.

In order to relieve the industry in the short term, the government has announced temporary visas for 5,000 tanker and food truck drivers. But industry experts predicted that the visas would come too little, too late, given the Europe-wide demand for truck drivers.

Recent figures from Transport Intelligence, an analytics firm, put a shortage of around 400,000 truck drivers across Europe, with Poland, Germany and the UK being hardest hit.

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