The Land Rover Owners Wife

Fuel and the panic buyers

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When Mud filled up with diesel at our local filling station, late Tuesday evening on the way home from Head Office, it was because he was running on vapours and didn’t want to have to call in to fill up at 4.30am on the way back to Head Office today.

He was also pretty sure, so he informed me when he got in on Tuesday night, that the media hype about the potential tanker drivers strike was going to result in panic buying of all available fuel and he wanted to make sure he had sufficient to get back down to Head Office and then home again today.

How right was he and how prudent of him to fill up then and not, as is his normal habit, on the way out this morning. By end of business yesterday, all local supplies of diesel had been sold out and petrol wasn’t far behind. He was also aware that the pumps near Head Office were in a similar situation.

Thankfully our Jap pick up is actually quite fuel efficient if driven at a steady 56mph and so Mud was quietly confident about his drive there and back.

However, 8.30 am this morning, Mud phoned me to say that he had been caught in the most horrendous traffic jam and that instead of the usual ¼ tank of fuel, the truck had used ½! Furthermore, he explained in an exasperated voice, at 4.30am this morning, the local garage forecourt, normally empty at that time bar the odd HGV, Mud and a couple of other regular commuters, was packed with ‘old grannies’ in their little hatchbacks, panic buying what fuel was still available.

Why? Was his incredulous question. What on earth were they doing? All they had managed to achieve, other than full fuel tanks which would probably last them 6 months, was to ensure that the local commuters would be unable, potentially, to get to work because they wouldn’t be able to get any fuel.

Similar scenes throughout the country had now ensured that most forecourts between work and home were now empty, with little likelihood of receiving fresh supplies any time soon and certainly not before Muds’ journey home. He was seriously worried that there was now not enough diesel left in the tank to get home.

Muds’ normal commute time was a worrisome couple of hours for me, as I waited to see if he would make it home or if I would receive a call to say he had run out of fuel.

Thankfully, the knock on effect of the panic buying and the resultant shortage in available fuel, was that many road users opted to stay home, rather than use what little fuel they had left in their vehicles and risk running dry. So the motorways were virtually empty, there were no accidents, no traffic jams and Mud was able to drive home carefully, conserving fuel and pulled up on the drive only a little later than normal and with some fuel still left in the tank.

Mud, with his cynical head on, believes that this whole situation is little more than a ruse to artificially increase Government income by inducing panic buying of fuel, thereby pushing the economy into a growth situation for year end and you know what …. that kind of makes sense.

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