A lack of truck drivers means fuel cannot be transported to petrol stations, but the government has promised urgent action.
British oil giant BP said nearly a third of its stations nationwide had run out of the two main grades of fuel – unleaded petrol and diesel – as the spate of panic buying forced the government to suspend competition laws and allow companies to work together to ease shortages.
The Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also announced a plan to issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers to soften the crisis in the world’s fifth-largest economy.
The lack of truck drivers has also hit British factories, restaurants and supermarkets in recent months.
The shortage has harmed supply chains, making it challenging to get goods to market, and driven fears of price rises in the run-up to Christmas.