Will the panickers stop panicking when their tanks are full?

Will the panickers stop panicking when their tanks are full?

The experience of last time is that they won’t

A long-time PBer sent me an email last night:

It can’t take long to sort out – once you have filled you car, you can’t panic buy anymore. Whereas you can buy months of loo roll! At least, that is my hope – if I can’t fill up by the end of the week, my daughter can’t go to uni! (Or at least, she can’t take much stuff!

I am not so sure of this. I very much remember the September 2000 fuel crisis when I was at a conference quite a long way from home and my tank was only about a quarter full. Should I risk wasting what petrol I had going round trying to fill up or hope that the whole thing would fizzle out? I chose the latter which proved to be a mistake.

The panic buying didn’t stop because even those with almost full tanks would join the queues for a top up even when they could only get four or five litres in. This got to be such a widespread practice that eventually some garages imposed a minimum purchase. That was fine except for those with small cars that had small tanks.

On some forecourts your fuel gauge was inspected before you could join the queue and only those who really were in need were allowed to continue.

I well remember my drive back traveling at about 40MPH on the M6 in order to maximise the miles I could get. I turned off the motorway and eventually found a back road filling station which had a big notice saying diesel only. I went in and they did have some petrol. They let me have about a few litres of petrol which just about got me home.

I feel there is some way to go before the present crisis fritters out.

Mike Smithson

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