LONDON €" Yesterday, some U.K. gasoline stations had to shut down after panicked motorists made a run on fuel ahead of a threatened fuel tank driver strike, the Associated Press reports. The U.K. government had warned drivers to not be caught low on fuel because of the anticipated strike, prompting an onslaught of fuel purchases.
Gasoline sales skyrocketed 81% and diesel sales soared 43%, according to the Petrol Retailers Association. Long lines at some retailers congested traffic so much that police closed those locations. "I€™m very, very busy," said Balaji Adusuballi, who works at the White Mare Pool Shell station in Gateshead. "There's a queue since this morning. It's very unusual."
While a strike date has yet to be set, ministers have been telling constituents to stock up with extra petrol as a precaution. In Britain, unionists have to give a weeklong warning before striking. Such a fuel tank driver strike could cripple thousands of gasoline stations.
The Automobile Association pointed to government officials as triggering the panicked buying. "If drivers followed normal fuel buying patterns there would be no fuel shortage whatsoever," said Edmund King, president of the association. "We now have self-inflicted shortages due to poor advice about topping up the tank and hoarding in jerry cans. This in turn has led to localized shortages, queues and some profiteering at the pumps."