The fuel crisis is “back under control” as more is now being delivered to gas stations than is being sold, a minister told Sky News.
After days of long lines at gas stations and many running out of fuel, Simon Clarke, Treasury chief secretary, said the main message today is “there is enough fuel.”
He told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “That crisis is now absolutely something that is back under control.
“Now more fuel is being delivered to service stations than is being sold, we are confident that the commercial market can solve this.”
Over the weekend, he said 60% of gas stations ran out of fuel, but as of Wednesday, that was down to 27% and that situation “will continue to improve.”
He confirmed that 150 army drivers are still on standby to drive trucks if necessary, as the shortage is due to a lack of heavy vehicle drivers, but they have not been used so far.
“The most important message is that the resilience of the fuel supply chain is improving,” Clarke said.
“If people buy normally, this will correct itself.”
Clarke said there are now 4,000 applications for provisional licenses for heavy vehicles in the system and that the government is trying to reduce the processing time to less than five days to help the driver shortage.
“We are working hard to make sure we train more drivers, we are increasing the tests, to make sure they pass the test,” he added.
Despite the fact that just over a quarter of gas stations have run out of fuel, according to a survey by the Gasoline Retailers Association (PRA), motorists continue to say there is not enough fuel.
Some roads around London have been jammed as drivers searched for fuel, some filled water bottles and reported violence.
PRA Executive Director Gordon Balmer said concourse personnel were being subjected to a “high level” of physical and verbal abuse by frustrated drivers.
Video footage emerged of a man wielding a knife at other drivers as tempers flared during long waits for fuel.