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fuel for thought

UK army tankers to take to roads for fuel deliveries amid supply issues

Drivers in the UK are being warned that fuel prices could reach record levels.

THE UK GOVERNMENT plans to use army vehicles to transport fuel in a bid to ease the current supply issues, a minister has said.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the reserve tanker fleet, driven by civilian drivers, will be “on the road” to boost deliveries.

He said the vehicles would provide “additional logistical capacity to the fuel industry”.

150 military drivers have been put on standby to assist in the crisis have begun training to operate petrol tankers.

Drivers in the UK are being warned that fuel prices could reach record levels even if the current crisis, which has seen chaos in petrol stations after it emerged a shortage of tanker drivers was threatening supply.

The reports prompted a wave of panic-buying, with many stations running dry.

The RAC, a roadside assistance service, said average prices may hit 143p per litre for petrol and 145p per litre for diesel in the next few weeks.

That is up from the current level of 135p per litre for petrol and 138p per litre for diesel.

The highest average price for petrol in the UK is 142p per litre, which was recorded in April 2012.

The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents two-thirds of UK filling stations, said the fuel crisis is “easing”.

Executive director Gordon Balmer said: “There are encouraging signs that the crisis at the pumps is easing, with forecourts reporting that they are taking further deliveries of fuel.”

“Only 27% of PRA members have reported being out of fuel today, and with regular restocks taking place, we are expecting to see the easing to continue over the next 24 hours,” Balmer said.

“However, we are extremely disappointed to hear many forecourt staff are experiencing a high level of both verbal and physical abuse, which is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“Forecourts are trying their best to manage queues and ensure there is plenty of fuel to go around,” he said.

“We would urge the public to remember that fuel stocks remain normal at refineries and terminals, and deliveries have been reduced solely due to the shortage of HGV drivers.”

In his first public comments on the issue, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday the situation was “stabilising”.

He said the government was putting in place preparations to ensure “all parts of our supply chain” – not just petrol – were able to “get through to Christmas and beyond”.

At the same time, however, he said he was not prepared to address labour shortages through “uncontrolled immigration” leading to a “low wage, low skill” economy.

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