Fuel supply: forecourt closures explained and how to find the cheapest petrol near you

With a shortage of HGV drivers forcing a handful of forecourts to close, petrol prices have risen by half a penny in the past two days alone, according to the AA. Here are the parts of the UK which could be hardest hit.

Is there a petrol shortage in the UK?

There is no shortage of petrol and thousands of forecourts are operating normally, according to the AA.

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Motorists have been urged not to panic-buy fuel, after a small number of petrol stations were forced to close because of a lack of HGV drivers.

BP said a “handful” of its filling stations had closed due to a lack of fuel, and Esso owner ExxonMobil also said a “small number” of its Tesco Alliance petrol forecourts had been impacted.

People queuing for petrol and diesel at a Tesco supermarket on September 24, 2021 in Northwich, Cheshire. Photo: Getty Images

The AA said similar delays over recent weeks had been managed “with hardly anyone noticing”.

Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: “Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.

“Drivers should not fill up outside their normal routines because, even if the occasional petrol station is temporarily closed, others just down the road will be open.”

Britain has a shortage of about 100,000 HGV drivers, Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association told BBC Newsnight.

Which areas could be most at risk of shortages?

Places which may feel any temporary closures the keenest are those with fewer filling stations.

There are about 4,150 petrol stations across the UK, according to Government figures, but they are not equally spread.

This map shows how many filling stations there are per constituency, rounded to the nearest five.

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Could this make my petrol more expensive?

The average pump price of petrol has gone up by half a penny in the past two days, according to the AA.

Unleaded prices have now hit an eight-year high.

This is despite the introduction of the cheaper E10 (10% ethanol) fuel, which became the standard petrol on forecourts on 1 September.

Mr King said petrol prices had risen by half a penny “when it should be 2.5p lower” after E10’s introduction.

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People in some parts of the UK also pay more for their petrol than in other areas.

Last month, London had the highest prices, at 136.3p per litre, and Northern Ireland the lowest, at 131.9p, according to the AA.

Wales has seen the sharpest price rises in the past year, with unleaded prices at the pump rising by 19% since August 2020.

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How can I find the cheapest petrol near me?

There are various comparison websites which will tell you where you can buy the cheapest petrol in your area, such as this tool by Confused.com.

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