In the midst of the fuel crisis, the UK Prime Minister has ruled out giving priority access to key workers.
Even as forecourts remained gridlocked with cars wanting to fill up, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday ruled out preferential access at the pumps for vital workers, saying that a fuel supply crisis to British petrol stations was easing.
Johnson said there was no need to allow vital personnel to skip the line in his first aired comments on the issue, which has seen the army put on standby to supply supplies.
“With things on the forecourts improving and the situation stabilizing, the best thing we can do now is stabilize it in the regular way,” he told reporters.
Long lines at gas stations around the UK have caused gridlock and frayed tempers, with some motorists resorting to using plastic water bottles to get supplies.
Concerns that a shortage of tanker drivers following Brexit could influence supply at the pump are fueling the problem that is endangering public trust in Johnson’s government.
After a day of denials that troops were being prepared for deployment, Johnson put the army on standby Monday night to drive tankers from refineries.
On Tuesday morning, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) stated that 37% of its members’ forecourts were out of gas.
“With regular restocking, this percentage is likely to improve even more in the next 24 hours,” said PRA executive director Gordon Balmer.
Johnson urged people to “go about their business as usual” and “fill up… when you absolutely need gasoline,” blaming the problem on global supply constraints.
He also defended his abrupt U-turn on post-Brexit immigration policy, which grants European truckers a three-month visa waiver to help fill the driver gap.
Critics argue that this would not be enough to entice many foreign truck drivers to return, and they have lobbied for more.
Johnson, on the other hand, stated that “low pay, low-skilled immigration” is “not the way we want the UK to prosper.”
The public, according to Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, is to blame for panic buying and the coronavirus pandemic, which caused 30,000 driver tests to be delayed and foreign truckers to return home.
Even as deliveries gradually began, drivers like London taxi driver Divyesh Ruparelia, 58, had a difficult time filling up.
“If it’s anything like yesterday, I’ll run out of gas today,” he told AFP.
Jennifer Ward, a 21-year-old paramedic from Norfolk, eastern England, said she had to try five different garages before she could fill up her ambulance.
She told the Daily Mail, “We work a tough job and we don’t need any more anxiety.”
As a result, healthcare organizations have called for “immediate action.” Brief News from Washington Newsday.