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Brits panic buying petrol amid possible ‘winter of discontent’ 

It is a story that harks back to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

Except this time, rather than hoarding toilet roll and penne pasta, Brits have been panic buying gasoline across the country.

Queues of vans and cars spilled out into the streets across the UK as the government did its best to calm people’s fears.

The frenzy follows comments from BP earlier this week, which said that a shortage of HGV drivers has led to a slowdown in the delivery of fuel from refineries to service stations.


While BP’s statement was regarding its supply chain rather than its stock levels, in addition to it only being one company out of many, the public was sufficiently concerned, and duly found their way to local service stations.

The pictures of queues at petrol stations are bringing back memories of “the winter of discontent” of the 1970s, a time of shortages and political unrest.

The possibility of a repeat of that decade is being talked up within the UK, amid rising living costs, supply chain issues and labour shortages.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps downplayed the notion on Friday, suggesting that there was no fuel shortage and for "everyone to carry on as normal”.

However, his words fell on deaf ears, as drivers scrambled to multiple petrol stations in their searches for gasoline.

While there may not be a shortage of gasoline yet, panic buying could create such issues, which has the potential to create inflationary pressures within the UK.

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