‘This is a disaster for the fuel supply’: Scare Tactics in U.K. Fuel Crisis

Unsustainable levels of steel, food and gas have triggered panic buying across Britain, forcing many businesses to ration supplies. Airports are experiencing particularly tight situations. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet all announced they would …

Unsustainable levels of steel, food and gas have triggered panic buying across Britain, forcing many businesses to ration supplies.

Airports are experiencing particularly tight situations. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet all announced they would be grounding more aircraft due to the shortage of planes, while Lufthansa said it would be increasing flights to Germany from Britain from Thursday to help ease the squeeze. The Barclays bank said the problem could “end up becoming a crisis that paralyzes the U.K. economy for weeks and months.”

“Gas supplies are at their lowest levels in 15 years,” Acting Energy Secretary Claire Perry told ITV on Sunday. “In fact, this has been a disaster for the fuel supply, it hasn’t been a disaster for the economy, because we’ve seen supplies to the rest of the world improved. And actually, the fuel industry is working as hard as they possibly can to ensure that people continue to have fuel at the pumps, whether that’s flying, whether that’s [generating] electricity from power stations.”

The uncertainty has caused wide-ranging supply problems, including frozen goods and even hot chicken. There have been shortages of chicken nuggets at takeaway restaurants and of certain types of fried food like fish and chips. Stephen McDonald, head of energy at supply management and resilience software company Control Risks, told the New York Times that hot and frozen food “would go first.”

But most companies have been quick to reassure their customers that they are still able to satisfy their appetites. Dunkin’ Donuts said it was in better shape than it was in 2009, when shortages sparked riots in cities across the U.K. Sainsbury’s issued a statement saying there would be “no petrol shortage” — a key element in the energy crisis — and that the supermarket was “still operating with more than enough fuel to meet all of our customer’s needs.” Lidl said it was still stocking on enough diesel to keep its supermarkets “busy throughout the busy summer period.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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