Petrol stations announce £30 limit on fuel after 'unprecedented' customer demand

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged drivers not to panic buy petrol amid chaotic scenes at fuel stations across the country – but the plea has fallen on deaf ears

Long queues at a Esso Petrol Station in Liverpool
Long queues at a Esso Petrol Station in Liverpool

Around 400 petrol stations across the UK are set to impose a £30 fuel cap per customer due to “unprecedented customer demand”.

The EG Group said in a statement that the move was intended to ensure everyone would have a “fair chance to refuel” and to enable sites to carry on smoothly, Manchester Evening News reports.

The £30 limit will not apply to emergency services and lorry drivers because of their “vital role”, the company said.

The announcement comes as the government looks into introducing temporary measures to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers that has significantly impacted a number of industries.

Boris Johnson is reportedly considering relaxing UK immigration rules to allow more foreign drivers into the country, although No 10 insisted any measures would be “very strictly time-limited”.

An aerial view of people queuing for petrol and diesel at a Morrisons Supermarket in Winsford in Cheshire

Up to 5,000 temporary visas could be granted for HGV drivers, according to the Financial Times and the Telegraph, as authorities scramble to tackle the problem of empty supermarket shelves and closed petrol stations.

Esso, BP and Tesco forecourts have been affected by challenges getting petrol deliveries.

BP said that around 20 or its 1,200 forecourts were closed due to a lack of available fuel, and between 50 and 100 sites have been affected by the loss of at least one grade of fuel.

Esso owner ExxonMobil said a “small number” of Tesco refilling stations have also been impacted.

In a statement published by the EG group, a spokesperson said: “Due to the current unprecedented customer demand for fuel and associated supply challenges we have taken the decision to introduce a limit of £30 per customer on all of our grades of fuel.

“This excludes HGV drivers and emergency services due to their vital role at this time. “This is a company decision to ensure all our customers have a fair chance to refuel and to enable our sites to carry on running smoothly.

“We kindly ask everyone visiting our sites to treat our colleagues, supply chain partners and customers with respect during these very challenging times.

Cars queues as members of the public panic buy petrol in Old Coulsdon, Surrey

“All of EG Group’s UK sites remain open and operational to serve customers.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged drivers not to panic buy petrol, amid chaotic scenes at petrol stations across the country.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, he said that motorists should “carry on as normal”.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that around one in six adults in Britain said they were not able to buy essential food items at some point during the past two weeks, due to products not being available.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “We have ample fuel stocks in this country and the public should be reassured there are no shortages.

“But like countries around the world we are suffering from a temporary Covid-related shortage of drivers needed to move supplies around the country.

“We’re looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems, but any measures we introduce will be very strictly time-limited.

“We are moving to a high-wage, high-skilled economy and businesses will need to adapt with more investment in recruitment and training to provide long-term resilience.

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