Preston petrol station workers facing 'abuse' amid fuel delivery chaos
Chaos at the pump continues as Preston petrol stations struggle with fuel supply following a busy weekend, where amounts were capped and some staff members were subject to abuse from drivers.
The news comes as ministers have called on people to stop “panic-buying” petrol and return to their normal pattern of purchasing as pumps continue to run dry.
Many filling stations in Preston remain low on both petrol and diesel supply after a busy weekend, with some unclear about when they will see another delivery.
And some fuel station workers say they were even subjected to abuse from drivers, with some sworn at, over their frustrations at the lack of fuel available.
A number of stations even began closing last Friday evening as demand for fuel soared.
The Texaco Station on New Hall Lane neared 'very low' amounts of diesel and petrol over the weekend and saved the remainder for key workers, as a £20 maximum spend for customers was also imposed.
Diesel had only lasted until Saturday evening and the branch kept small amounts of petrol left but is now awaiting word on a new delivery, with some customers hurling abuse at staff.
Imran Adam, the manager, said: "We had enough on Thursday and Friday last week, with 35,000 litres delivered but by Saturday the diesel had completely gone.
"We closed off the diesel on Saturday because we were running very short and left what was left for key workers. That lasted until Sunday afternoon but because of the high demand it completely ran out.
"People have been panicking and that is what has caused this issue. If everyone had just filled up their normal amount, everybody would have had enough to get by and we would've had our deliveries as normal.
"Petrol stations have known about supply issues for a while, but because people were buying fuel normally it wasn't a problem. Now people have become worried about a fuel shortage and have made the problem worse.
"The queues over the weekend were absolutely massive, and we have had to deal with people giving us abuse and shouting at us because we had to cap their spending to make it fairer for everyone."
And the Texaco Filling Station on Garstang Road, Preston, has been closed since 2 pm on Saturday and received a small delivery of petrol and diesel this afternoon, September 27, but was only expecting it to last a few hours.
A worker told the Post: "We are currently getting a tanker of petrol and diesel delivered but we already anticipate it to be used up by this evening.
"We completely ran out on Saturday and had to close for the rest of the day and on Sunday. We will be expecting more deliveries this week but we just don't know when."
Oil giant ExxonMobil, which operates Esso forecourts and runs the UK’s largest refinery, has said it is operating as normal and has “strong supply” to distribution sites and that the problem lies in delivering the fuel to sites.
The Government has "no plans at the moment” to use the Army to drive petrol tankers amid the continuing shortages, the Environment Secretary has said today.
And in a bid to help companies share information to prioritise areas where fuel is running low, the Government has suspended competition law.
Morrisons, which has petrol stations locally at Ashton-on-Ribble and at Blackpool Road, has remained open. A spokesperson said: "It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep our pumps open and serve our customers.
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused during this time."
And Tesco, which also has a branch at Liverpool Road, Penwortham, said: "We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day”.
The Shell station on Bluebell Way, Fulwood, is also among those in the dark about when it will next see a delivery.
The large 12-pump branch is currently waiting on five different deliveries and had its most recent delivery of 150,000 litres of diesel last Friday, September 24.
But that had been completely used up by 8 pm on the same evening and shifted more than 40,000 litres of unleaded petrol over the weekend.
A staff member told the Post "We were expecting a delivery on Saturday but it didn't arrive, due one on Sunday but it didn't turn up and the same has happened today.
"We are now down to just premium unleaded but there are only around 4,000 litres of it left and then we will be completely out.
"We have had people shouting and swearing at us but it is out of our hands and we can't do anything. We have put cones out and signs up telling people there is no fuel.
"It has not stopped and it has been like that all through the weekend, we have never seen anything like it. As one car was pulling away from a pump, another a queue was waiting behind it. It was just one after another."
The Shell garage, on New Hall Lane, is also among those completely out of diesel and is awaiting a confirmation date for their next delivery
A member of staff confirmed that there were roughly 2,000 litres of petrol left by midday today, but that diesel had dried up by lunchtime on Sunday following a busy weekend.
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has said up to 90 per cent of its forecourts have been used up
Amid concerns about the impact on the NHS, the British Medical Association (BMA) called for healthcare workers to be given priority to access fuel, to ensure essential services were maintained.
Have you been impacted by difficulty getting fuel? Get in touch with me at [email protected] to tell your story.