The fuel crisis is feared to be getting even worse in some parts of the UK – with one petrol station yesterday charging £2.93 per litre.
The shocking price for super unleaded came as nearly 200 troops drafted in to deliver fuel to garages were wrapping up their intensive training.
They will begin deliveries from Monday in a bid to end the chaos – but experts are warning they will only have a “limited impact” as the crisis rumbles on.
The Petrol Retailers Association says supply remains a “really big problem”, especially in London and the South East. And those motorists who do find fuel can expect to see rises of up to 3p a litre next week as the shortages continue.
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The average price of unleaded at supermarkets is £1.322, says the AA. But yesterday the Cloisters Gulf station in affluent Chelsea, London, was selling unleaded at 268.5p per litre and super unleaded at 293.5p.
Desperate motorists still queued to fill up and the station ran out of fuel.
The PRA’s Brian Madderson said of the crisis: “In London and the South East, possibly parts of eastern England, if anything it has gotten worse.”
He welcomed the intervention of the military drivers, being trained at a BP oil refinery in Hertfordshire.
But he cautioned: “This isn’t going to be the major panacea. It’s a large help but in terms of the volume, they are not going to be able to carry that much.
“We do need to prioritise deliveries to filling stations – particularly the independent ones which are the neighbourhood retail sites – in London and the South East, starting immediately.”
And he said rising world oil prices mean motorists should expect higher prices at the pumps when garages are resupplied.
Mr Madderson said: “Expect anything from 1, 2 or even 3p a litre increases. This is not profiteering. It is genuine wholesale price increases caused by global factors.”
A huge shortfall in HGV drivers has hit supply chains, with fuel not reaching garages and empty shelves in shops.
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The Government has announced a temporary visa scheme for nearly 5,000 foreign food haulage drivers, which was due to expire on December 24, will be extended to the end of February.
Additionally, temporary visas are to be issued to 300 overseas fuel drivers “immediately”.
Under the scheme, those foreign drivers will be able to work in the UK from now until the end of March.