Britain’s trade minister said on Wednesday that the military would start operating fuel tankers in response to shortages at gas stations across the country due to a shortage of truck drivers.
For almost a week now, a shortage of around 100,000 truck drivers in the UK has made it difficult for oil companies to get gasoline from refineries to fuel stations. The British Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) reported on Wednesday that more than a third of the country’s 8,500 gas stations remain without fuel.
The situation has left long lines of motorists trying to buy fuel at stations that had gasoline.
Trade Minister Quasi Quarteng told reporters he could expect to see soldiers driving tanker trucks to help deliver petrol to stations in a few days. He said he thought the situation was stabilizing, noting that Tuesday’s gasoline inflows matched sales.
The situation was exacerbated by panic among some motorists, but Quarteng said people were “behaving quite responsibly” in the last day, and he encouraged them to continue buying fuel as usual.
The UK trade minister said Britain was not the only one facing a truck driver shortage. He said Poland is facing a shortage of about 123,000 drivers, and the United States is facing a similar situation.
In a release on its website, the PRA gave “early signs that the crisis at the pumps is coming to an end,” with more members of the association reporting that they are now receiving deliveries of fuel.
He expects the percentage of stations without fuel to improve further in the next 24 hours.
Driver shortages, however, are raising fears in UK retail that it could spell problems for the holiday season if it continues longer.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.