/ Travel & Leisure

This ‘petrol shortage’ is bringing out the worst in people

Angry man on fuel gage

My taxi driver bumped my taxi fare up last night due to the ‘petrol shortage’. I was shocked by what seemed to be blatant profiteering. Are the petrol pumps really running dry where you live?

Taxi drivers generally really dislike picking up my fare. I’m not the kind of person who gets cabs everywhere – in fact I run home twice a week – but I have a general rule that; if it’s late I get a cab rather than walk home.

I probably get one once a fortnight and like to think I’m putting my safety first over saving a few pounds.

Pumped up taxi price due to ‘fuel shortage’

So when I hopped in a cab last night and the driver moaned at me for it being a five minute walk (it’s actually 10-15 minutes) I offered to get out the cab. I’m not interested in giving someone business if they think they’re doing me a favour. If you don’t want the journey, don’t take it.

When he pulled up to drop me off he said it would be £5. Why? Because of the ‘petrol shortage’. Now, before midnight the fare is nearly always £3.90/£4.20. Only after midnight does it go up to £5. He didn’t have the meter running so I should have guessed he was going to play this game.

I know I’m being a little pedantic over a few pence, but I just find it really cheeky that A) they set whatever price they see fit B) they use a petrol strike (that has yet to happen) as a reason to increase the fare.

The ironic thing is, whenever a taxi driver is courteous I give them £5 anyway. All I need is a ‘hello’ and a ‘please’ and I’ll happily (or perhaps stupidly) give them a tip.

Don’t panic! What petrol shortages?

I did a bit of research when I got home last night. There aren’t any petrol stations in our area that have run out of fuel. There are some in east Surrey (40 minutes away) that have run out of diesel and others are experiencing queues, but there are definitely no shortages.

The driver was pretty angry with me when I told him there wasn’t a strike and we weren’t affected by any fuel shortages. He asked me whether I was accusing him of lying, so I politely denied this and got out the cab.

Although it was hard for me to see his point of view due to the fact we don’t really have a problem in our area, it did get me wondering about the real picture across the UK. Have the petrol pumps run dry in your area?


Hi Charlotte
It does seem as if the possibility of a strike has really made far too many people act ridiculously. Even though the fuel stations in my part of south east London haven’t run dry, there are long queues at every one I pass, even late at night.
I think people shouldn’t be panicked into filling up their tanks prematurely, or hoarding extra fuel, before a strike has been called. Instead I’d suggest working out how many miles you have in your car’s tank. All you need to do is a few simple sums.
First you need to find out the size of your fuel tank (this is likely to be stated in litres in your owners’ manual) and your car’s average mpg. If you don’t know this, check the running costs tab of our full online car reviews for our real-life tested mpg figures. Then use our litres to gallons converter to get the tank size in gallons and multiply this by your mpg.
I did this for my Renault Modus: it spends most of its time around town so does 34.9mpg and has a 49 litre tank (10.77 gallons) so will do roughly 376 miles on a full tank. Looking at the car’s fuel gauge, I could estimate that I have more than 280 miles left in the tank. So I won’t need to visit a petrol station for at least three weeks, when hopefully all this will be over.

Black cab was it? Should have taken his Hackney Carrige Licence number and reported the surly b…… oops, person.
Mini cab? Don’t use them or him again.

This whole thing is ridiculous and the government really haven’t helped with their scaremongering.

The other day I was walking past the local petrol station at 6PM and could see it completely closed and barriered off as a result of the fuel running out, and the other independant garages have all periodically run out of diesel. The only which seems to have coped is the local Tesco garage, and the queues are backing onto a nearby roundabout.

The annoyance with all of this is that people are filling up ahead of a strike (which, by the way, wont be happening until after Easter now…well over a week away). By the time the strike does actually happen, they’ll all be out of fuel again and back to square one.

I live in Christchurch, Dorset, where many fuel stations are closed either because they’ve run out of fuel or because queues are blocking main roads. Social networks sites are busy with locals asking where fuel is available and information about queues. People were panicked by government statements warning them to stock up. How daft is that! There will be no strikes until after Easter at the earliest. Petrol being stored in homes and garages is not in anyones best interest.

Problem now is that working people are runnig low and have to join the queues. I’ve also read reports that some stations are putting up prices.

I have a third of a tank and am avoiding using the car, which I can do this week. Tanker drivers must be pleased. Plenty of overtime and amunition to use during talks – just the threat of strikes is causing chaos.

Phil says:
30 March 2012

In past fuel crises the idiots have been going back to re-fill as soon they’ve got room for the minimum pump quantity. I see some garages are trying to prevent this by imposing a £20 minimum.

Rodney46 says:
30 March 2012

Quite remarkable that one supermarket was full with a queue back 200 mtrs onto an access spur road and yet another had no queue. As usual the great public is not listening to what is being said.

Rodney46 says:
30 March 2012

Just a thought! One of the problems with taxis is that in most areas the fare is given in time units and not distance travelled. Visiting a relative in London a year or two back when the station approach was under reconstruction and blissfully obstructed cost £8.00 to get 150 mtrs onto the main road and £12.00 to get to destination. Perhaps this should be reviewed before the Olympics !!

When I was doing my A levels far too many years ago now, I worked part-time for a major supermarket, One Friday evening, a trainee manager could not remember if he had placed the order for bread or not, fearing the worse, he placed the order again to the two suppliers. Saturday morning and double the normal amount of bread arrived. The deputy manager had an idea….. he got a piece of cardboard and a marker pen and wrote “Do to the flour shortage, only 2 loaves per person”. We ran out of bread before 11.00 am. – Double the Saturday amount of bread sold in less than half the day – the trainee got the job of ringing the bakeries to ask if there might be any spare bread they could deliver. Panic buying the supermarkets best friend.

Jon says:
30 March 2012

Were you daft enough to pay him? I would have told him to take a running jump.

I blame it all on the inept “government” that so many people voted for. The unthinking reaction was to be expected.

My local garage has bumped the price up by another 10p per litre. Needless to say there was no queue.

And some accuse this Govt’ of stupidity, how wrong can you be.
Last week the ether was full of complaints about the high price of Petrol & Diesel.
Today, who cares about the price, suddenly all those who could not afford fuel are filling their cars & jerry cans.
So now we have shown the Govt’ that price does not matter, only availability [whatever the cost], so why should they lower prices.

Oh well done Dave, a master class in giving people enough rope to hang themselves!
We don’t call them Condem’s for nowt.

Laura says:
31 March 2012

I went to my local Asda last night (for shopping, not for petrol). They have 2 entrances to their petrol station which merge into one, normally without any problems as everyone takes it in turn. As I was going in there were 2 huge queues and lots of horn blowing and revving of engines going on. On the way out I noticed they’d put 3 Security guards at the merging point, presumably to stop arguments about queue jumping.
I live just outside Barking in Essex and for the past few days there have been queues at all our local petrol stations, except the independent one that’s charging £1.49. No doubt when all the rest are out of fuel he’ll put his prices up even more!
Slightly off-topic, but my daughter lives in Wrexham, North Wales, where apparently they’re not just panic buying petrol but food as well! Her local Tesco was packed yesterday, with many shelves almost empty and basics (bread, milk etc) completely sold out.

barney473 says:
31 March 2012

Well, what a sorry state of affairs!! I have a car but choose to cycle 28 miles to work and back every day, I only use the car to drive my mother about and to do my monthly shopping. This year I’m 60 years old but I still cycle 7000 miles a year. Now, I agree there are people who would be unable to physically cycle, but there are many people who could, surely that would relieve the petrol situation and help the NHS because people would be healthier. One of my colleagues at work lives less than a mile from work but drives everyday, madness!!!! One of my neighbours drives her kids to school about 2/3 mile then returns home, madness!!! Just how many more people are like that? No wonder there is a fuel crisis.

evie says:
2 April 2012

Just out of curiosity, how long does your journey take? I too have turned 60 & cycle to work, but only three miles each way – that’s quite enough for me, especially with no shower facilities at work!

I used my car to go 1.7 miles to work for 30 years. I am still suffering from the being hit by a careless driver in 1975.. (I was on a motorbike rather than a bike.) I might not still be alive if I had cycled to work on busy roads. I’ll get my exercise walking, thank you.

The petrol crises can be blamed soley on the inflametory headlines and comments in the daily papers and stupid remarks by cabinet ministers and unhelpfull remarks by the petrol industry. If a strike is to take place there will be seven days notice, if it does happen the government should cap the price of petrol and diesel at the price applying prior to the recent “crisis”, they won’t of coarse, any action they take will only make the situation worse. On the question of safety tanker drivers should have their time at work capped at nine hours per twentyfour consecutive hours unless they have been engaged on duties other than driving.This should apply to army drivers who may be directed to deliver fuel.
Wait in trepidation for the next round of news paper and government invective.

Annika says:
3 April 2012

In Central Hackney, there were at least four petrol stations that were closed all day, as they had no fuel whatsoever. So the problems caused by scaremongering and the resulting panic buying are far from over.

Annika says:
3 April 2012

I forgot to mention that this was yesterday (Monday, April 2); We have not gone by any petrol stations today.

Petrol station in Lower Wick Worcester has put the price up so much that it is cheaper to buy petrol from the nearby motorway service station, or you can go less than a mile down the road and pay 5p per litre less.