fuel shortage

Petrol prices and shortages to continue into 2022

Whether you’re an independent driver at work or a fleet manager looking for the best van deals, it’s fair to say that the last few weeks have probably been a bit stressful. The recent petrol shortages especially will understandably have been a cause for concern, and the subsequent price rises probably won’t be easing your mind, either.

Thankfully, the immediate petrol shortage issues appear to be largely over for now; queues have receded, and stocks have now stabilised. Unfortunately, though, the rising prices seem set to continue for the time being. So, the major questions probably on your mind right now are: why has all this been happening, and what can you do to protect your business going forward?

Why did the petrol shortage happen?

Basically, the petrol shortage kicked off largely because of HGV driver shortages. It’s a Europe-wide problem, but the effects are currently being felt especially keenly in the UK. It’s posing difficulties for suppliers, too. In September, British Petroleum announced that it would have to temporarily close some of its petrol stations. Understandably, this sparked worries amongst drivers that they’d potentially be left out of fuel. Things snowballed from there, and it all ultimately led to panic buying up and down the country.

All that happened within the space of just a few days and caused a shortage of fuel for other fuel companies too, as customers flocked to ensure they had enough for themselves. The worst of the situation lasted about a week, finally peaking around 25th September, after which point things started to stabilise. As of now, the shortage situation has eased, with forecourts reporting the highest level of fuel since May. That’s not had a chance to ease many minds though, since everyone’s now focused on the next major challenge: rising fuel prices.

fuel shortage

Why are fuel prices so high?

In a nutshell, fuel prices are high because of a worldwide shortage of oil. One of the key causes of this can be traced back to – you guessed it – Covid-19. As the world started to come out of the pandemic, demand surged quicker than fuel companies could handle. The global economy is normally capable of handling reasonable shocks, but the world has never seen a situation like this before, with so many countries (and millions of people) slowing down their demand and then ramping it all back up again in one go.

Before the crisis, prices had moved steady at around £1.32 a litre. Now, fuel prices have reached a record high. Average prices across the country have reached £1.42 a litre, with levels at their highest since April 2012.

Other costs are contributing to the price rise too. Retailers are seeing a hit on their own margins, with many smaller retailers looking to recover costs associated with the pandemic. Those are being passed onto consumers and businesses on the forecourt.

So, what can you do to protect your business?

If you’re a van driver who regularly makes frequent trips across the country, it’s worth keeping an eye on fuel prices in the areas you are set to visit. Using the confused.com fuel price checker allows you to plan where may best be able to fill up. Spending a little time planning your route and using the tracker may save you a few quid on your next tank of fuel.

We’d also advise keeping an eye on the Google ‘popular times’ widget for your local petrol station. This could be particularly useful for fleet managers who are keen to help their drivers as much as possible. This tracker is updated live and compares the current time to ‘standard’ times too, so you’ll be able to see if petrol/service stations are becoming busier than they usually would. Simply Google the station you’re interested in, and the widget appears in the information section. Knowing this will allow you to advise any drivers (especially ones who travel most) when they may best be able to get fuel.
Those are just a few of our suggestions, of course. You’ll probably have your own plans and contingencies for keeping your business on the road. We’ll leave the details to you!

If you’re looking to upgrade your fleet to more fuel-efficient vehicles though, that’s exactly where we can help – here at Van Discount, we offer some of the best van deals on the market, and regularly save our customers an average of 40% off the cost of a new van – often equating to thousands of pounds off leading brands like Citroen, Renault, Vauxhall and Ford. For more information, contact our team of experts!