BP and Esso close a number of petrol stations amid fuel shortage

With the ongoing fuel shortage, some petrol stations have been forced to close, risking widespread disruption for drivers

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BP announce petrol station forecourt closures in statement

A national fuel shortage is causing petrol stations across the country to close, risking widespread disruption.

The UK has been plagued by a number of shortages in recent weeks, brought on by a shortage of HGV drivers.

BP’s head of UK retail Hanna Hofer has said it is important the government understands the “urgency of the situation”, which she described as “bad, very bad”, ITV News reports.

She added that BP had “two-thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations” and the level is “declining rapidly”.

Here we take a look at which oil companies have faced petrol station closures, and the reason for the fuel shortage.

Which petrol stations have closed?

A sign reading ‘Sorry we’re out of diesel’ is seen at a BP petrol station in Weymouth


Getty Images)

BP and Tesco have closed some petrol stations because of petrol and diesel supply issues, brought on by the lack of HGV drivers.

There are around 1,200 BPO branded filling stations around the country, of which 300 are operated by BP themselves, and the oil giant has said “a handful” of these have been forced to close.

The oil giant, which is the largest operator of petrol stations in the UK, has not said which specific ones have closed.

The Mirror reached out to BP, but the company could not confirm which specific petrol stations were closed due to the fast-changing situation.

BP said in a statement: “We are experiencing some 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 some delays in the supply chain which has been impacted by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK and there are many actions being taken to address the issue. We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise any future disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers.”

Petrol pumps closed at a BP forecourt in Surrey


Humphrey Nemar)

They are currently working to address the problem, and prioritising deliveries to motorway service areas, major trunk roads and sites with the largest demands.

The company said: “We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries.”

Esso, which owns 200 Tesco Alliance sites, has reported similar issues with a “small number” of them.

A spokesperson said: “We are working closely with all parties in our distribution network to optimise supplies and minimise any inconvenience to customers.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.”

Currently these are the only two suppliers reporting shortages.

Supermarket Morrisons has said it’s not seeing similar issues with any of its 338 petrol stations, according to the BBC.

Similarly, Co-Op, which operates 130 petrol stations, has a “full complement” of fuel delivery drivers.

Tesco says it has a “good availability of fuel”, and the BBC report that both Sainsbury’s and Asda have had no issues in fuel supplies.

Why is there a fuel shortage?

Drivers are being urged to ‘buy fuel as normal’



Is panic-buying understandable – or selfish? Let us know in the comments below

Similarly to the food shortage which is causing empty supermarket shelves, the reason for the fuel shortage is to do disruption to the supply chain.

This is due to a post-Brexit shortage in the number of HGV drivers.

Since the UK left the European Union, many non-UK nationals who drive trucks have opted to work solely within EU countries.

This has left logistics firms struggling to find workers.

According to The Road Haulage Association (RHA), Britain needs as many as 100,000 more drivers to keep shops stocked and supplies moving.

The coronavirus situation has made everything worse, with the closure of test centres worsening the shortage of drivers.

The Department for Transport has recently changed the rules for tests to speed up the process of qualification.

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