Fuel Association Says Govt Switch to ‘Greener’ Fuel Was ‘Major Factor’ in Shortage

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Sir David Attenborough and Prime minister Boris Johnson (R) attend the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit, being held in partnership with Italy this autumn in Glasgow, at the Science Museum on February 4, 2020 in London, England. Johnson will reiterate the government's …
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Automotive fuel retailers have said the British government’s push to switch to more environmentally friendly petrol was a “major factor” in last month’s alleged fuel crisis, which saw station forecourts run out of fuel as a result of panic buying.

Despite warnings of a HGV driver shortage, like those seen across Europe, official figures from the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Industrial Strategy released on Thursday show that deliveries to petrol stations remained steady throughout the summer months.

But it was the government’s ‘green’ push for retailers to switch over to E10 petrol that prompted fuel retailers to start “emptying their tanks as fast as we could” which then became a “major factor” in remaining extra stock quickly disappearing from forecourts when motorists began panic buying, according to The Telegraph.

E10 petrol contains around 10 per cent renewable ethanol which the government says will help to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and became the standard grade for petrol in Great Britain last month. Other petrol in the UK containing up to five per cent renewable ethanol, called E5 petrol, will still be available for cars not compatible with E10 fuel.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, said that retailers’ emptying their tanks of the old blend to meet the requirements of the law coincided with the beginning of panic buying on September 24th, saying that the fuel crisis was an “unintended consequence” of the government’s push to switch to E10.

Mr Madderson said: “For weeks we had been emptying our tanks of E5, the old fuel, as fast as we could to get ready for E10. We had all run our petrol stocks down.”

It was at this point, where the rundown of stocks in preparation for the switch-over was taking place, that rumours of shortages spread in the media sparked panic-buying.

Madderson added: “So when the panic buying started, many of our members ran out pretty quickly. Then the shortage of HGV drivers meant we couldn’t get supplies of petrol or diesel quickly enough.

“I don’t blame the Government particularly but the E10 switchover clearly had an unintended consequence: we couldn’t cope with the surge in demand.”

A government spokesman from the Department for Transport denied there was any link between the introduction of E10 and the fuel retail shortage, telling the newspaper: “There is no evidence to suggest that the introduction of E10 was related to the fuel shortage. The fuel issues we have seen in recent weeks were caused by an unprecedented spike in demand caused by atypical consumer behaviour.

“The legislation that the Government put in place to introduce E10 allows fuel retailers to still use existing stocks until 1 November as part of a gradual change, so there was no need for the emptying of storage tanks. This timeframe was extensively discussed and agreed with stakeholders.”

While those on the globalist-left have sought to blame the shortage of HGV drivers on the end of free movement of workers from the EU after Brexit, others have blamed it on a combination of bad long-term government planning and industry’s failure to train drivers at home.

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that both the government and industry had known for years about a lack of British drivers, slamming haulier firms for being addicted to cheap, foreign labour and failing to improve working conditions to retain Britons in the job.

Duncan Smith also blamed the coronavirus lockdown for slowing down the processing of tests and licences for drivers, with the transport secretary admitting last month that the DVSA was sitting on a backlog of 40,000 lorry driver test applications.

While Britons put most of the blame for panic buying on the media whipping up hysteria over an alleged fuel shortage.


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