'Panic-buying idiots': Self-employed electrician blasts motorists who have 'taken food from family’s table'

·3-min read
Fuel pumps out of use at a deserted Shell petrol station forecourt in Warwick. Picture date: Monday September 27, 2021.
Fuel pumps out of use at a deserted Shell petrol station forecourt in Warwick on Monday. (PA)

An electrician has called motorists who have been panic-buying petrol “idiots”.

Roland McKibbin, 31, who is self-employed, spoke out as the fuel crisis continues.

On Monday, some independent fuel brands said 90% of their petrol station sites are completely dry following days of panic-buying.

There were long queues for pumps across mainland Britain at the weekend as panic buying took hold amid an HGV delivery driver shortage that has adversely impacted supply at the country’s petrol stations.

The government has said that empty pumps are down to panic buying, and not because of a shortage of fuel.

McKibbin, from Beckenham in London, said those queuing up for fuel to panic-buy had taken food off the table for his wife and son.

Watch: Drivers queue at petrol stations amid fuel panic

He said he could only reach just one of his jobs on Monday and had to cancel the rest because of the fuel shortage.

“I rely on fuel to travel to jobs, no fuel means I can’t drive, which means I can’t get to jobs with my tools,” he said.

“So, basically, the panic-buying idiots have lost me income, and directly taken food off the table for my wife and five-year old son, because I can’t wire people’s houses from home unfortunately.

“I wasted about 15 miles of fuel looking, in the end I had to turn back as I was on fumes.”

McKibbin said being unable to travel would cost him “at least £200 for the day” while he could also have to cancel jobs on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some schools are reportedly preparing to switch to online learning if their teachers are stranded at home by the lack of fuel.

The government has created 5,000 temporary three-month visas for foreign tanker drivers, while competition laws for the industry have been suspended to allow suppliers to reach stations that are low on fuel.

It was widely reported on Monday that Boris Johnson was considering bringing in army personnel to drive oil tankers.

However, environment secretary George Eustice said the government has “no plans at the moment” to use the army to drive petrol tankers amid continuing shortages at filling stations.

A Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire, which has no fuel. Picture date: Sunday September 26, 2021.
A Shell petrol station in Bracknell, Berkshire, which has no fuel. (PA)

Eustice said there was not a shortage of fuel and called on motorists to stop “panic-buying” petrol and return to their normal pattern of purchasing.

Long waits at filling stations saw police called to a scuffle at a north London forecourt on Sunday as motorists continued their panic buying, which was sparked after concerns from BP were leaked to the media that the lorry driver shortage could impact its ability to keep up with fuel deliveries.

In a joint statement from the likes of Shell, ExxonMobile and Greenergy, the industry reiterated that the pressures on supply were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel”.

On Monday, Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said some of its independent brands are seeing as many as 90% of their sites running dry.

“We did a straw poll yesterday morning of a number of our members who have around 200 sites between them,” he told LBC radio.

“50% of those we spoke to said their sites were dry and some actually said 90% of their sites were dry."

Watch: Minister blames fuel panic-buying on media coverage

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