July 7, 2022

In the UK, gasoline shortages worsen in the south of the country

Day 9 of the UK gasoline shortage, Saturday October 2nd. Joey was lucky. This morning, the gas station next to his home in Brockwell Park, south London, was dry. But, a little later, he spotted the start of activity: refueling had just taken place. “I rushed to refuel, just before the line got too long. “ Since then, the rumor of a full gas station has spread and the line of cars stretches for tens of meters. Joey’s wife, a high school teacher, needs her car to get to the college where she works, forty-five minutes away, and it was urgent to fill the tank.

A mile down the road at Streatham Hill, another gas station didn’t have the same luck. «No fuel», indicates the sign, with large capital letters. A priori, no supplies are expected today, according to the manager. “But go to the top of the street, in the other station, there is gasoline”, assures a client, like a confidence.

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So has life in the UK since September 23, when the gasoline shortage began. Everyone passes on the right addresses where the fuel has just been delivered, and the service stations experience accordion effects: huge queues are formed immediately after each refueling, which empties the tanks quickly, causing a new shortage.

A quarter of dry gas stations

The UK is not so much immobilized as it is simply embarrassed. By searching well, we end up finding gasoline. London and the south-east of England are more affected than the rest of the country; the situation even worsened there on Saturday, according to the Gasoline Retailers Association, which represents two-thirds of stations nationwide. In central and northern England, Scotland and Wales, the problems are easing. On Friday, a quarter of the stations were completely dry, and another quarter did not have all grades of fuel. Monday, two hundred soldiers, including a hundred truck drivers, will intervene to try to improve things.

The UK gasoline shortage is the result of a “Perfect storm”, to use the English expression. As everywhere else, the pandemic has disrupted logistics chains: electronic chips that are difficult to obtain, shortage of raw materials, delay in container deliveries, etc.

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Added to this is Brexit. During the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Europeans returned to their countries of origin to go through containment, and many did not return. And since the 1is January, it is no longer possible to work without a visa, a document which is only granted from an annual salary of 25,600 pounds sterling (30,000 euros).

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