Army put on standby to ease fuel crisis in UK

TEHRAN, Sep. 28 (MNA) – Britain’s army has been put on standby to deliver fuel as panic buying worsened a supply crisis, sending prices to an eight-year high.

Announcing the move late on Monday, the government said a “limited number” of military tanker drivers were ready to be deployed if needed, Al-Jazeera reported.

“While the fuel industry expects demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, it’s right that we take this sensible, precautionary step,” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said in a statement, without specifying how many drivers had been readied.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) had earlier warned that up to 90 percent of petrol pumps were running dry in some areas of the United Kingdom due to supply chain issues, which were caused by a shortage of truck drivers.

The PRA represents independent fuel retailers, who account for 65 percent of all UK forecourts.

Government ministers, fuel companies and petrol stations say there are sufficient supplies of fuel but that the lack of truckers, combined with the rush to fill up cars and jerry cans, has drained the system.

Long lines of vehicles have formed at many filling stations around the UK since Friday, causing spillover traffic jams on busy roads.

Tempers have frayed as some drivers waited for hours, with sporadic fights breaking out as people jostled for access to petrol pumps.

Meanwhile, the average price of a litre of petrol rose to 1.366 pounds ($1.86) on Sunday, the highest level since September 2013, according to figures collated by the RAC, a motoring group.

“We are also aware of a small number of retailers taking advantage of the current delivery situation by hiking prices,” RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said on Monday.

Major suppliers, including BP, Shell and Esso, said in a joint statement on Monday they expected demand to return to normal levels in days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts”.

“We would encourage people to buy fuel as they usually would,” they said.

As the chaos unfolds, however, calls have grown for the government to prioritise healthcare workers and emergency services staff.

ZZ/PR

News Code 179163

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