Why are there soldiers at petrol stations?
The Army has now been called in to help deliver fuel to petrol stations as the country continues to struggle with supply shortages.
Soldiers in combat fatigues have been spotted arriving at a BP storage depot after the government called in the military to tackle a shortage of lorry drivers. Almost 200 Army personnel, half of whom are drivers, have been drafted in to help on a temporary basis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told LBC: “As an extra precaution, we’ve put the extra drivers on.
“The situation has been improving now for I think over a week every day… it is getting better and as demand settles back to more normal levels the strong expectation is things will resolve themselves.”
The troops have been on standby since last week and have received specialised training in handling fuel deliveries.
When will the petrol shortage end?
Fuel providers have tried to reassure consumers that the crisis will be short-lived. Retailers including BP, Shell and Esso have issued a joint statement saying they expected demand to return to normal levels “in the coming days”.
“There is plenty of fuel at UK refineries and terminals, and as an industry we are working closely with the Government to help ensure fuel is available to be delivered to stations across the country,” they said.
“As many cars are now holding more fuel than usual, we expect that demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, easing pressures on fuel station forecourts. We would encourage everyone to buy fuel as they usually would.”
BP had previously said it is hopeful fuel stocks at forecourts will stabilise and start to rebuild at some point next month.
What’s happening to fuel prices?
The average price of a litre of petrol rose from 135.87p on Friday to 136.59p on Sunday – the highest level since September 2013 – according to the RAC. Diesel is at 138.58p a litre.
Oil prices have risen to a three-year high as global output disruptions forced energy companies to pull large amounts of crude out of storage, while a shortage of natural gas in Europe has pushed costs up across the continent.
With demand for oil outstripping supply, this could result in higher wholesale prices for suppliers, which in turn is likely to be passed on to motorists.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “We might yet see higher forecourt prices in the coming days, irrespective of the current supply problems. We are also aware of a small number of retailers taking advantage of the current delivery situation by hiking prices, so we’d remind drivers to always compare the price they’re being asked to pay with the current UK averages.”