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Pouring fuel on the fire…

With no let-up in the fuel price war that continues to wage since the Chancellor failed to implement desperately fought-for fuel duty cuts in last week’s Budget, we are now facing threats to the very fuel supplies we’re paying through the teeth for.

Workers’ union Unite announced on Tuesday (27 March) that 69 percent of the 2,000 balloted tanker drivers from seven different companies had voted in favour of industrial action over working conditions and health and safety.

The Government opposed the move, describing strike action as “wrong and unnecessary”, and demanded that Unite, the workers and their employers sit around a table to resolve any disputes. Conciliation service Acas has been drafted in to try and make this happen.

Be that as it may, the strike may still go ahead and drivers are now being warned to stockpile fuel to avoid any impact on their daily lives and businesses.  There have even been hints that trained military personnel could be used to drive tankers in the workers’ place. If it comes to it.

We’re not talking jerrycans like the cabinet minister Francis Maude, who advised drivers on Wednesday they should stock “maybe a little bit in the garage as well in a jerrycan”. This advice came under justified criticism by the Fire Brigades Union and the AA, which highlighted that, at a capacity of 20 litres, a jerrycan contains more than the official limit to safely store fuel in the home.

By the same token we appreciate that it is a sensible precaution to stockpile some fuel in case of emergencies, but the reaction from motorists across the country has been unprecedented – panic buying, queues at petrol stations and forecourts emptied of their supplies.

Today’s advice from Energy Minister Ed Davey is that drivers should refill tanks when half empty, after the Prime Minister was accused of being vague in saying drivers should stay “topped up”.

Fingers-crossed that these disputes are solved before the situation escalates though, as not every driver can afford to refill their tank as soon as it reaches the halfway mark. We will keep you updated on the situation at


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