Trucker shortage drains U.K. gas pumps
British gas stations are rationing fuel use until deliveries become more consistent, and medical associations are asking for priority consideration. The Petrol Retailers Association, which manages 65 percent of the country’s fuel pumps, reported roughly two-thirds of its members ran out of gas over the weekend. The government has been training some troops to drive tankers to deliver fuel but said on Monday that there is no plan to deploy the army. U.K. drivers are panic-buying, with lines spilling out into major roads. Grocery stores warn they are running out of food due to delayed deliveries, and cab drivers have struggled to fill up. BP, Shell, and Exxon said levels should return to normal in a few days.
Why are there so few truck drivers? After Brexit, many truckers left the country because they could no longer stay without a visa. Now the industry is short an estimated 100,000 drivers. The government has been trying to incentivize more workers by approving additional hours and offering more training and testing. Over the weekend, the government approved 5,000 emergency visas for foreign truck drivers. Critics say the three-month visa—through the Christmas rush—will not appeal to truckers and is not a big enough change to address the issue. EU members say the shortage is a problem of the U.K.’s own making.
Dig deeper: Read the latest By the Numbers report in WORLD Magazine on U.S. truck drivers.
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