Traffic chaos as petrol pumps start to run dry

Traffic congestion at the Tesco filling station in Bradley Stoke

Traffic congestion built up around the Willow Brook Centre in Bradley Stoke this lunchtime as motorists fearing petrol shortages queued to fill up at the Tesco garage.

The queue of vehicles waiting to enter the filling station stretched back to the Three Brooks Roundabout and traffic leaving the centre slowed to a crawl as Tesco staff battled to control the onslaught of panicking motorists.

At noon, around half of the fuel nozzles at the station were labelled “out of use”, with signs indicating that unleaded fuel was only available at the front pumps (nearest the kiosk).

A Tesco employee in the kiosk said the pumps had run dry last night at 10pm and he was sure the same would happen today – at a much earlier time. He added that a tanker delivery is expected to replenish stocks overnight.

Willow Brook Centre staff and a PCSO were seen observing the traffic problems as two Tesco staff directed cars to the pumps and tried to keep vehicles leaving the centre moving.

Fears of shortages have been sparked by a threatened strike of fuel tanker drivers.

Related link: Q&A: Fuel tanker strikes (BBC)

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  1. I can’t understand why everyone seems to be panic buying when the fuel companies are required to give 7 days notice before any strike action takes place. I’m concerned as I only have 1/3 left; but I won’t be rushing out to a petrol station until I’m near red.

    I think you can place some blame on the way the government handled the situation; but equally to blame is the way the press are providing extensive coverage, for example on 24hr news channels etc.

    Tesco should be banning people from filling up any sort of containers; easier said than done though.

  2. Knee-jerk reaction by the stupid again. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

    I’m old enough to remember the sugar shortage of the ’70s. When a granny actually got killed in the rush to get the last bag of sugar from the shelves.


  3. My OH is at work opposite a petrol station – the queue is horrendous. We were going away for the day this weekend but have decided not to bother. With all the idiots panic buying all we need is to get somewhere and need a top up and be stuck.

    What possesses people to act so stupidly.

  4. Its crazy, i am on red but cant afford any till i have been paid, and away the next too days… just hoping the madness is over by the time i fill up on Sunday…

    I went to tescos this afternoon and as i drove out at 5pm the forecourt was closed and it was totally sold out!

  5. I drove past a Shell garage on the way home from work and they had a tanker in doing a delivery and just 3 cars on the forecourt (no queues) so things aren’t as bad as the media are making out.

    @Enigma: I wouldn’t worry – remember, most cars will do an average of 50 miles once the fuel light has gone on, and all the panicking folk will have their fuel by the weekend when it will inevitably return to normal. I’d only expect any panic to start again if there is indeed a strike after next week.

  6. @Bert I drove past two petrol stations on the way home. Texaco and Shell; both had no queues. I think because the Tesco petrol is very popular (busiest Tesco petrol station outside of London) and convenient to those living in Bradley Stoke; it’s not surprising it has seen huge queues.

    Lets hope this all calms down once these idiots finish panic buying and the rest of us sensible people can fill up easily in a few days time.

  7. I’ve just got home from work in an A&E department to find my petrol light flashing (have been waiting for the panic to die down before filling up) and Tesco petrol station closed. No doubt there will be no petrol tomorrow and I won’t be able to go to work because even though I can get a bus there I cannot get one back at midnight so the hospital will be one down. Not a great day for the NHS!

  8. Got up at ten to six to get mine, was starting to get busy. People seemed to be queuing to use the pumps nearest to the shop so use the ones further away opposite where you get air.

  9. We were able to watch the drama unfolding from the Office window! We counted a total of 3 cars reversing into each other and 1 car facing the opposite direction…(?!)

    Tailbacks were so bad that we had members unable to make it to use the gym!

    So crazy!

  10. I saw an ambulance having to turn around yesterday when the petrol station at Tesco was closed, I hope they managed to get some fuel elsewhere!

  11. Ug… going to have to join operation “queuing hell” at 8pm tonight.

    I run my car dry pretty much every tank, so right now I have enough fuel to make it to Tescos but probably not enough to make it home without filling up.

  12. Don’t bother queueing – just go to ASDA or Sainsburys Filton where you can just sail through (well, obviously don’t *just* sail through – stop and get some fuel while you’re there!)

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