Fuel retailers are coining it in. Petrol and diesel sales have almost doubled nationwide in the last day, and forecourts in many places are busier than they have been in years. And yet, the very people who stand to profit from panic buying are urging motorists NOT to top up their tank.
The problem lies in the way petrol forecourts are restocked. Many retailers have to book their deliveries up to a week in advance, and there simply aren't enough tankers or drivers to quickly increase the number of deliveries.
If everyone rushes to the pumps and empties a petrol station in a day, it may be many more days before it's able to be refilled. If this happens across the country, those who need to fill up will struggle to do so, while much of the country's petrol sits in people's full tanks.
– Edmund King, AA President
If drivers had followed AA advice and indeed the Department for Transport advice not to change purchasing behaviour, there would have been no panic, no crisis and no shortages.
Today, there is no strike, deliveries are taking place as normal, and the Unite union must give at least a week's notice of any disruption to supply.
And yet, as one retailer told me today, we risk creating a national crisis if the current queues at filling stations don't subside.