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Fuel Crisis – How will it impact your business?

By Chris Dawson September 27, 2021 - 11:47 am

You probably had enough petrol to get to work today, but the fuel crisis could start to impact your business in the coming days.

What appears to have been a handful of petrol stations that missed deliveries due to a shortage of drivers has turned into a nationwide panic buying that hasn’t been seen for almost 30 years. I can remember the last fuel crisis and that was genuine, this time it appears to be entirely driven by media reports resulting in half the country heading to petrol stations over the weekend and literally sucking the country dry of petrol and diesel.

Round my way, the entire Newbury/Thatcham area is out of fuel and reports suggest that this extends all the way to surrounding towns such as Bracknell and Reading. There’s not a drop to be had anywhere with every single petrol station being empty this Monday morning.

The fuel crisis will inevitably now last for weeks if not months – those that genuinely need to fill up will be queuing every time there’s a tanker delivery and those that don’t need to fill up will queue like demented creatures in the desperation that if they don’t top up from three quarters of a tank to full they might run out. We could be facing shortages until Christmas as whilst a handful of empty petrol stations could be replenished, now that something like three quarters of the country is running on empty it’s no longer a job of topping up petrol station fuel tanks, they’ve got to be filled from empty.

The knock on impact for your business might not be immediately apparent, but it’s not whether you can get to work or not. It’s whether your parcels will be delivered. Whilst some carriers might have electric delivery vans and some even their own fuel depots, there are vast numbers of self employed and life style couriers working for everyone from Hermes to Amazon and they have to fill their vehicles at the same places that you do.

If carriers run out of fuel then the fuel crisis won’t be simply the essentials of getting to work and going to the supermarket, it’ll flow over into ecommerce deliveries and that’s going to impact every online seller.

Being ever hopeful and optimistic, one might hope that the crazies that immediately went to fill their car to the brim and then topped up every other car in their family might have so much fuel they won’t need to top up for a week or so. The reality is more likely that the rational that didn’t panic are now starting to wish they had panicked and the fuel crisis will only get worse. For every person who’s tank runs dry another 20 will be scared that they’re next and start queuing for fuel.

As is always the case, if you start to see deliveries being delayed the best advice is to step up communications with your customers and keep them informed. The last thing you want is a fuel crisis translating into your marketplace metrics being hit.

PS, If anyone knows where I can get some diesel in the Thatcham area, my car genuinely needs topping up by Friday when I next need to use it!

  • SAM
    4 weeks ago

    What a panic and absolute mess. Just like bog roll gate , when did people get like that very selfish and just panic stations all the time. ..delivery was fine the mob just like bog roll gate use 2 weeks supply in 2 days.
    Anyway it will depend where you get your fuel. No doubt Royal mail will be the first to completely implode.
    The supermarket I drive for in the evening was full on Friday morning then empty filled up again during the night and empty again the next day.
    Some of the lads were getting abuse for filling up our delivery vehicles also.
    We go in at night right now and fill up save the when the BMW mob have gone..
    There is a reserve kept Police etc and business needs and we obviously need to fill up to get in.
    A lot couriers may struggle however pretty quick

    There is no need for it however. .

  • Mike Smith
    4 weeks ago

    Unlike bog roll panic though, what these people are doing is dangerous especially storing illegal amounts of fuel in their own homes. The petrol stations should be fined heavily for letting people fill up unsuitable containers too.

    And yes the government is useless but make no mistake who caused this panic: The Sun and Daily Mail. All for clicks and ad revenue… never afraid to plunge new depths are those rags.

    As for my business it looks like another Christmas ruined. No deliveries means no eBay means no money. No one cares about self-employed or small businesses anyway. Remember folks, soon you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy (or else)

  • Hannah
    4 weeks ago

    Rubbish, fuel was running out 4 days before it hit the headlines. When it did, the people started, rightly, to panic. And what does our government do… nothing! Just the same as at the start of covid. Johnson and his ilk will try to foist the blame on anyone else, and will dodge taking responsiblity. He’ll have to when the country grinds to a halt in a few days.

  • Trumpton
    4 weeks ago

    What a load of rubbish. Its just people panicing because of a world shortage of HVG drivers thats hit every country incuding America caused by Covid. Why do people on the Left have to constatly twist stories to have a go at Boris. Pathetic

  • Bob
    4 weeks ago

    As one teacher said…”Did you enjoy home schooling?…because that’s what you’ll be doing again when I can’t get to work because all the selfish idiots have drained the pumps dry”

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