Fuel retailers claim that supplies are being made to the “wrong parts of the country” as ongoing shortages persist in London and the South East.
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said only 71% of gas stations in the region have both gasoline and diesel, compared to 90% in the Midlands and the rest of the UK.
“We don’t know when the deliveries will arrive and we don’t know how to prioritize them,” he said.
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“The return to normal fuel levels continues to be hampered by the current inappropriate prioritization policy.”
Mr Madderson alleged that independent retailers were being denied access to information from talks between the government, transport companies and oil companies.
The government insisted that “the situation was getting better” and a spokesman urged people to “keep buying fuel as usual”.
They said: “We immediately took measures to increase the number of truck drivers and to relieve the filling stations. The situation is improving as more and more petrol stations get more fuel.
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“Thanks to our interventions – from temporarily exempting industry from competition laws to deploying military tankers – the industry is getting fuel to where it is needed most as quickly as possible.
“It is important to emphasize that there is no national fuel shortage in the UK and that people should continue to buy fuel as usual.”
Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that gas station storage tanks in the southeast – including London – were 16% full on Sunday nights, compared to 25% across the UK.
The average UK inventory dropped to 15% on Saturday 25 September, the day after the panic buying began.
Storage tanks were typically around 33% full prior to the outbreak of the crisis.
Mr Madderson described the government’s decision to suspend competition laws to allow the fuel industry to share information as “a failed experiment”.
He added, “Now is the time for the government to step down, reintroduce competition law and restore market discipline so that normal business incentives will bring the fuel to the stations that need it.”
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the shortage was “most felt by smaller retailers who tend to buy fuel less frequently”.
He added, “Following the recent run on the pumps, the vast majority of retailers have had to replenish their stocks at the same time, which puts a huge strain on supply chains.”