BP has announced fuel will be rationed as the shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers impacts the oil giant’s petrol and diesel supplies.
At a government meeting last Thursday, BP told officials that last the company’s ability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of forecourts was faltering.
Fuel will now be rationed to prevent supplies from running out altogether.
BP’s head of UK retail Hanna Hofer said it was important the Government understood the “urgency of the situation”, which she described as “bad, very bad”, according to ITV News.
Ms Hofer said BP had “two-thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations” and the level is “declining rapidly”.
Hofer warned fuel will be restocked less often “very soon,” while Motorways will be prioritised and restocked as normal.
The HGV sector has been struggling with recruitment in recent months with a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit reducing the number of available drivers.
With test centres shut and many HGV drivers from the EU returning home during the pandemic, it has created a shortage of qualified drivers.
The issue has already hit supermarkets, with shelves half full and grocers forced to increase salaries and introduce signing on bonuses to fill gaps.
It has spread to waste collection services, with some councils cancelling bin collections as drivers have taken more lucrative jobs elsewhere.
Calls from Morrisons and Ocado for the Government to add HGV drivers to its skills shortage jobs list, to allow EU workers to fill the shortfall, were investigated but not implemented following pressure from the Home Office.
BP is said to have asked the Government for similar support temporarily.
It has approximately 45 drivers coming through in training but is experiencing high rates of attrition, according to ITV News.
In the week beginning September 6, 10 drivers joined and six left, it reported.
The company hopes the fuel shortages will be temporary and can be rebuilt in October.
BP said in a statement: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades.
“These have been caused by delays in the supply chain, which has been impacted by industry-wide driver shortages across the UK, and we are working hard to address this issue.
“We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The Government has been approached for comment.