A lack of truck drivers means fuel cannot be transported to petrol stations, but the government has promised urgent action.
Queues of cars snaked back from filling stations across the country on Sunday, swallowing up supplies and forcing many retailers to shut despite assurances from the government that the United Kingdom is not short of fuel.
British oil giant BP said nearly a third of its stations nationwide had run out of the two main grades of fuel – unleaded petrol and diesel – as the spate of panic buying forced the government to suspend competition laws and allow companies to work together to ease shortages.
“This step will allow government to work constructively with fuel producers, suppliers, hauliers and retailers to ensure that disruption is minimised as far as possible,” the business department said in a statement.
The Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also announced a plan to issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers to soften the crisis in the world’s fifth-largest economy.