The big read: Sheffield drivers give their verdict on petrol crisis and panic buying

Drivers in Sheffield have given their verdict on what caused panic buying which left petrol stations across the city running on empty this week.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 6:00 am
Petrol stations in Sheffield during the fuel crisis

There is a UK shortage of lorry drivers which causes problems for a range of industries, also including supermarkets, and oil firm BP warned last week it would have to temporarily close some stations due to the lack of drivers.

Panic-buying of petrol has since taken place across the country this week.

In Sheffield, there were long queues outside garage forecourts and several stations ran out of petrol, while others limited the amount that people could buy.

Patricia Goddard said that the army should be brought in to help with the crisis.

Sheffield residents, drivers and shoppers told the Telegraph how they think the crisis should be handled, why it came about, and what they thought of those who had panic bought petrol.

Patricia Goddard, from Gleadless, said NHS workers should have been given priority access to petrol.

She said: “Boris (Johnson) has sat on his backside doing nothing. They should get the Army in, they should have done that yesterday.

“I don’t drive but my family do and they are unable to get fuel reliably. “Panic buying made it worse but the media has also contributed to it.

Motorists queue to fill their cars with fuel at Morrisons store in Hillsborough Sheffield as a number of stations were forced to close due to a shortage of tanker drivers in the UK Picture Dean Atkins

“I have seen petrol crises in the past but then it was due to a real shortage, now it’s down to mismanagement from the government.

“The medical profession are complaining, rightly so.

"NHS workers should be allowed at the front of the queue. We need these people, we needed them during Covid and we still need them.”

Ken Rutter, from Crosspool, also criticised the government.

Kath Newton thinks that panic buying has made the fuel crisis worse.

He said: “They didn’t plan for Brexit, throughout Covid they didn’t plan. “Now there are a range of problems and crises which came from a lack of short term planning and lack of investment over 12 years.

"The need to move to renewable energy has been important for 40 years.

“The fuel issue would have been a problem anyway but now it has become a crisis.

"I have been unable to get fuel myself, I was anti-panic buying. I think the media have as usual overreacted and added to the problem.”

Ken Rutter believes that the fuel crisis is result of lack of planning by the government.

Kath Newton, who was visiting Sheffield city centre from Doncaster, said: “Panic buying made the situation worse, yesterday people were queuing right down the street.

"I am not that concerned and haven’t bought any more than I would have bought - but I’m not commuting every day to work.

“What surprises me is why people don’t just work from home if you can for week or two until it calms down.”

Mr Deakin, from Manor Lane, said: “The guttersnipe press are all Remainers, they are doing anything they can trying to prove that Brexit was a problem.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as they are saying.”

On Monday the Texaco garage on Ecclesall Road at Banner Cross was sold out of petrol, with the pumps covered in plastic bags, and drivers arriving only to drive straight out again.

At a Jet petrol station in Crookes on Friday, cars were queuing out onto the road as drivers rushed to fill up amid a spate of panic buying that has swept the country.

At Jet John Gallacher, from Walkley, said: “ I am quite surprised to see the panic, I think you have to resist it. I thought we had resisted this hysteria in Sheffield.”

John explained that he was topping his car up as he would normally do and was not panic buying fuel.

He added: “This panic is only going to exacerbate the problem.”

It is believed that areas with the fewest petrol stations will be hit hardest by shortages and panic buying.

Official figures have shown how many petrol stations are in each constituency in the UK, rounded to the nearest five.

Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough are the Sheffield constituencies with the least petrol stations – they both have two or fewer.

The national average is six petrol stations per constituency.

Sheffield Heeley, Sheffield Central, and Sheffield South East constituencies each have three to seven petrol stations, which is about average.

Eddy De Brouwer, from Crosspool, said: “I went to Tesco garage on Fulwood Road but it was so busy I didn’t bother trying to fill up. It seems it is busier than normal.

“They are reassuring us that there is plenty of petrol but can you trust them. Seeing how busy it is I wouldn’t let my car run into the red now.”

It is reported that several petrol stations across the country have had to close because there are not enough HGV drivers deliver supplies of fuel.

David Stubbs, from Ranmoor, also tried to fill up his car at the Tesco garage on Fulwood Road and said that he was surprised that Jet wasn’t even busier.

He said: “It’s obviously making the problem worse.

"But everyone criticises everyone else and then does it.”

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ‘we are starting to see the situation improve’ with regards to the crisis.

Deliveries also appeared to be getting through to some Sheffield petrol stations and queues were shorter. The government has put the Army on standby to help deliver supplies and announced measures to ease the shortage of tanker drivers.