Gas stations in English metro areas are running dry after six days of buying panic worsened shortages caused by insufficient truck drivers. For days, the UK government has contemplated the use of military truck drivers to replenish gas stations. Now there's word the government's reserve tanker fleet will be operational on Wednesday afternoon, and military truck drivers will be coming online in days.
On Wednesday, Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the government's Reserve Tanker Fleet will be on the road by this afternoon to boost deliveries of fuel to gas stations. The force is comprised of civilians and will provide logistical capacity to the fuel industry.
I can confirm the government's Reserve Tanker Fleet will be on the road this afternoon to boost deliveries of fuel to forecourts across Britain.— Kwasi Kwarteng (@KwasiKwarteng) September 29, 2021
The trucks are driven by civilians and will provide additional logistical capacity to the fuel industry (1/2)
On Tuesday afternoon, Sky News tweeted:
"A senior defense source says troops are set to start driving fuel lorries to petrol stations later this week after the Ministry of Defence approved an official request for assistance."
Kwarteng elaborated today on the plan to field upwards of 150 soldiers to deliver fuel.
"The last few days have been difficult; we've seen large queues. But I think the situation is stabilizing; we're getting petrol into the forecourts. I think we're going to see our way through this," he said.
We are now seeing signs that the situation at the pumps has begun to improve with more stations getting more fuel.— Kwasi Kwarteng (@KwasiKwarteng) September 29, 2021
The sooner we can all return to our normal buying habits, the sooner the situation will return to normal (2/2) https://t.co/KJaFgXRsnu
The Petrol Retailers Association, which oversees about 5,500 independent petrol stations, said 37% of its members' stations were out of fuel on Tuesday.
A shortage of approximately 100,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers caused supply chain stress through the petrol industry - there's plenty of fuel at refiners. Still, the issue has been the lack of drivers to transport fuel to gas stations.
Besides calling in the military, the world's fifth-largest economy has begun to issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign HGV drivers.
The shortage of drivers has fractured supply chains as an energy crisis has also rippled through power markets and the food industry. The scenes playing out in the UK over the last six days are reminiscent of the chaos of the 1970s.