Petrol: Just The Next Casualty Of The British Public’s Need To Panic Buy

Shivani Hindocha

On the 24th of September 2021, petrol stations across Britain descended into chaos. This was unsurprising, as Britain has proven to be a nation filled with people that start panic buying toilet roll and hoarding pasta at the first sign of uncertainty.

Unless you have been living under a rock, which to be honest doesn’t sound so bad given the current state of the world, you will be aware of how difficult it is to fill your car with fuel at the moment. This is because of the supposed ‘petrol shortage’. But let me let you in on a secret… There is no shortage of fuel. There is a shortage of drivers to transport and supply the petrol, leading to a shortage of fuel at the petrol stations, which has been exacerbated by the mass panic buying by the British public.

The fuel shortage crisis has become a self-fulfilling prophecy

It all began when BP, Esso and ExxonMobil announced that they would be closing a handful of station sites as a result of the shortage of drivers. The crisis began after the media reported on this, resulting in thousands of people rushing to petrol stations in fear that they’ll be left fuel-less. And so, the fuel shortage crisis has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The lack of improvement with this ongoing situation has now resulted in the armed forces being mobilised to support the industry and drive lorries to deliver fuel. But it is not just this industry that has been hit. The lack of HGV drivers has affected many other industries including supermarkets and fast food chains.

ITV’s YoungGov poll shows that 23% of people blame the government and 22% fault the public, compared to 47% believing the media have caused the recent fuel shortages.

So who is actually to blame?

Analysts have placed blame with Brexit and the government for the disastrous lack of indispensable HGV drivers that caused petrol delivery problems in the first place. Adding to the existing worries about rising fuel prices, the media should also be held accountable for generating mass panic and hysteria among the public. However, is that not their job? News outlets and the media are expected to report on facts and events. But, as communicated by Professor Wahl-Jorgensen, the media have a responsibility in choosing how they cover a story, with importance lying with the details they choose to emphasise, and those that they sweep under the carpet during their reporting. Nonetheless, surely the fault for panic buying lies with the public? The British public’s lack of common sense has once again caused outrageous queues and a survival of the fittest mentality. Have we not learnt our lesson?

So instead of asking who is to blame for the crisis, we should be asking how can we solve this crisis

I think we can all agree that the casualties once again have been the emergency and essential workers, who despite having proved to be invaluable to our community, are the ones who are suffering. We’ve all seen the heart-breaking images of firefighters and paramedics queuing for hours desperate for fuel, we’ve heard the worrying cries from teachers and nurses not being able to get to work. So instead of asking who is to blame for the crisis, we should be asking how can we solve this crisis.

Shivani Hindocha 

Featured image courtesy of Red Dot via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.

If you just can’t get enough of Features, like our Facebook as a reader or a contributor and follow us on Instagram.

One Comment
  • NaiYa
    11 October 2021 at 10:01
    Leave a Reply

    Very interesting story, congratulations on your debut article Shivani!

  • Leave a Reply