The Fuel Crisis Explained


If covid and Brexit weren’t enough, now the UK is suffering from another catastrophe  - a rising fuel shortage.  

What Is the Fuel Shortage 

Petrol stations from across the UK are witnessing queues at an unprecedented level in recent years as drivers are waiting for hours to fill up their cars.  

This crisis has come about due to people ‘panic buying’ fuel as BP and other gas companies decided to close some of their stations.  

The fear of petrol stations being closed lead many to turn their engines and drive far and wide to stack out on some petrol.  

Shockingly, nearly 90% of UK cities fuel pumps had no petrol by Monday the 27th 

The thing is, this very fear or panic is the cause of the shortage, not the consequence.  

Are We Really Running Out of Fuel? 

In reality, the only shortage was the lack of lorry drivers, more specifically 100,000 heavy goods vehicles (HGV) drivers in the UK. 

There are multiple reasons why the UK is low on lorry drivers. Many happen to be retiring, and others are returning to European countries due partly, not solely to Brexit.  

Training tests were also cancelled due to covid restrictions, exacerbating the shortage of drivers and adding pressure to the fuel industry.  

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) said 27% of their stations run out of fuel on Thursday. To put this in perspective, PRA represents nearly 5,500 filling stations out of the UK’s total 8000.  

Where Can You Get Fuel? 

With more and more petrol stations running dry, combined with the massive queues to fill up, it can be difficult to find petrol near you.  

Your best option is to use Google Maps and compare prices. If you’re worried about the queues, Google Maps has a nifty traffic view option.  

Simply open the app, click the overlay icon on the right-hand side (the one that looks like stacked squares), and then search for your nearest station.  

The green lines show where the least traffic and the red lines show, you guessed it, where the heavy queues are.  


The good news is that like every crisis, it’s only temporary. The UK military is on standby to give the hardest hit areas the petrol and gasoline they need. Boris Johnson has announced foreign truck drivers will have temporary visas to help with the driver shortages.  

So keep your chin up as the fuel ‘crisis’ is starting to improve.  



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