Could there be a fuel shortage caused by coronavirus?

The Petrol Retailers Association assures there will be no fuel shortages during the coronavirus crisis but urges people to use precautions


Ahead of the weekend the UK government revealed new restrictions in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, urging people to stay at home where possible and limit outdoor movements.

Since then though a wave of outdoor activity brought on by sunny weather and the fear of a more serious lockdown being enforced could see the government impose tighter restrictions in the coming days.

As such, there have been concerns a run on certain supplies – such as fuel – could begin, not least in light of the ongoing shortages of food and essentials in supermarkets as people look to stock up for what is an uncertain future.

However, the industry has moved to allay fears there will be any shortages with forecasts actually suggesting there will be a greater supply available as people restrict their movements, according to Petrol Retailers Association Brian Madderson, speaking to Auto Express.

In Italy where the coronavirus been felt hardest, sales are down 60% due to the restrictions in place.

However, he does counter that the switch by many from public transport to safer and more self-isolating cars and motorcycles means sales in the UK remain steady, albeit down at motorway service stations.

Precautions when filling up with fuel

However, there is a call for people to take precautions when filling up their cars and motorcycles due to the communal nature of using fuel nozzles.

The PRA is urging fuel stations to ensure they are stocked up on gloves and encourage them to be used when people use fuel nozzles to fill up their machine. Though petrol pump nozzles are cleaned every day, there is a heightened risk of catching the coronavirus via your hands if you don’t use gloves when holding them.

However, he says cleaning companies are beginning to prioritise front-line services, such as the NHS and care homes, meaning it will take the individual actions of the customer to ensure they do not contract or pass on the virus.

It is also suggesting using card payments to limit the handling of cash among multiple people.

Please be aware that fuel supplies - IF they begin to run lower for whatever reason - should be the priority of key workers in this time and stockpiling or panic buying is strongly discouraged.