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Panic buying leaves up to 90% of fuel pumps dry in major British cities



Up to 90 percent of British fuel stations were out of fuel across major English cities on Monday, as panic buying exacerbated a supply chain crisis triggered by a shortage of truckers, which retailers fear will have a negative impact on the world's fifth-largest economy, according to the Financial Times.


As a result of the Brexit vote, there has been a severe shortage of truck drivers in the United Kingdom, causing chaos in supply chains ranging from food to fuel, raising the prospect of disruptions and price increases in the run-up to Christmas.


Ministers repeatedly urged the public not to panic buy just days after the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent millions of pounds to avert a food shortage caused by a spike in the price of natural gas and its byproduct, carbon dioxide.


On Sunday, however, queues of dozens of cars snaked back from petrol stations across the country, squeezing supplies and forcing many gas stations to close their doors. According to Reuters reporters, fuel pumps in several British cities were either closed or displayed signs indicating that fuel was unavailable.


Several large groups with a diverse portfolio of sites have reported that 50% of their sites are dry as of yesterday; some have reported that as many as 90% of their sites are dry as of yesterday, according to Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, who spoke to Sky News.


Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) represents independent fuel retailers, which account for 65 percent of all forecourts in the United Kingdom today, according to the organization.


In Madderson's words, "you can see that it is quite acute." "It's going to be a very dry start to Monday morning."


Nearly a third of BP's British petrol stations had run out of the two main grades of fuel, the company said on Sunday, as panic buying prompted the government to suspend competition laws and allow companies to work together to alleviate shortages in response to the crisis.


Businesses will be able to share information and coordinate their response, according to Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary.


As the business department explained in a statement, "this step will allow government to work constructively with fuel producers, suppliers, hauliers, and retailers to ensure that disruption is minimized to the greatest extent possible."


On Sunday, the government announced a plan to issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign truck drivers as part of a pilot program.


Entrepreneurs have, however, expressed concern that the government's plan is only a temporary fix that will not address the country's acute labor shortage.

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