Government fuel the petrol panic

Tesco petrol station,Buckingham.'120329M-E327
Tesco petrol station,Buckingham.'120329M-E327

This week we have seen somewhat of a panic at the pumps with people rushing out to buy fuel quicker than the tanker drivers could deliver it.

Drivers were queuing, stations were running out of petrol, then diesel, then both – and why? Because the government gave us some very ill-informed advice to keep our tanks at least three quarters full ‘in case of a strike’.

Does that mean I should rush out and build a bomb shelter in case of a nuclear attack? No.

The government filled many people in this country with fear that petrol stations would run out of fuel before the Easter holidays, leaving motorists stranded.

I know plenty of people who did not heed the government’s advice and filled up, as usual, when they needed it, and rightfully so.

Those people who filled up their cars, and jerry cans, and anything else that could hold a large expanse of liquid I don’t judge them.

However, I did not see the need for mass hysteria at the pumps. Also, did people not think that the petrol they had filled their cars up with would have run out two weeks later when the strike could have been called?

I went to the petrol station at 10.30pm last Thursday, put in the same amount I always do and then drove on.

I understand people may have been genuinely in need of fuel but by putting in more than you would have normally needed you in affect made it harder for the next set of people to re-fuel.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude urged people to stockpile fuel in case of a strike and look what happened.

A 46-year-old woman in York suffered 40 per cent burns to her body after vapours ignited as she decanted petrol in her kitchen, setting fire to her clothes.

Granted she did it next to her gas oven but still that’s not the point.

Maude was roundly and rightly criticised by many for advising people to store spare fuel in their garages.

But was the government’s plea to get petrol a genuine voice of concern or are there more sinister plans in motion?

Put it this way: the petrol stations, sensing a potential surge in customers, and lack of petrol, raised their prices by a few pence and the government made a tidy £30 million plus.

The petrol panic was unnecessary scaremongering and thankfully Milton Keynes was not too badly affected.

I know some people faced longer than normal queues and more than one person I have spoken to actually saw the price per litre go up by a penny as they were on the forecourt.

However, we have fortunately not heard tales of people stranded with no fuel unable to travel anywhere because of the ‘shortage’ and hopefully we won’t.

Strike or no strike? I still feel the Government may win this one either way.