There are reports up and down the country today of panic-buying at the pumps, as both the Transport Secretary and motoring organisation appeal for people to just "carry on as normal" and stressing there is no fuel shortage.

But has it become a self-fulfilling prophecy and what is happening locally? It's proving to be a mixed bag in this part of Cornwall.

The Packet went out to check on one of our closest fuel stations and found it to be business as usual at the Esso station in Dracaena Avenue, Falmouth at 2pm.

Its business as usual at the Falmouth Esso fuel station

It's business as usual at the Falmouth Esso fuel station

However, the Asda roundabout at one end of the Penryn Bypass has been described as "bedlam" by one motorist this lunchtime, due to people queuing to get in.

Things were a little busier in Helston also, with cars waiting for every pump at Tesco – but as one of the town's busiest fuel stations, this is nothing new.

Theres a queue for each pump at Helston Tesco - but this is nothing unusual Picture: Alison Grose

There's a queue for each pump at Helston Tesco - but this is nothing unusual Picture: Alison Grose

Since then, however, it has become busier again through the afternoon, as this picture by Mary Seeny shows. 

Falmouth Packet:

There were also queues coming out of the slip road in to Sainsbury's in Helston, although this is also not unheard of.

The message has also been to not join the queues out of panic, as there is "no shortage of fuel" – unless people make it that way.

Sainsburys in Helston has some queues coming out Picture: Alison Grose

Sainsbury's in Helston has some queues coming out Picture: Alison Grose

Texaco, which has branches in Falmouth, Helston and around Cornwall, has also issued a statement to customers saying: "We are writing to you with reference to the current fuel supply situation in the UK and some reports you may have seen in the media.

"We would like to reassure our customers that fuel supplies are ample and that we have committed all available delivery resources in order to keep our Texaco branded service stations adequately stocked.

"Despite some media reports of other brands having site closures and other mixed speculation, there is no need for our loyal Texaco customers to fill up more frequently than normal.

"We are confident that our supply chain is able to adequately manage the current situation and that we are able to continue to satisfy our customers’ needs."

However, that cannot be said for Helston's Texaco garage as of 5pm today, which had a sign up saying it had run out of fuel and every pump was closed off. 

Given the company's statement, however, it is hoped that the fuel station will be restocked again by tomorrow. 

It seems to depend on where you are in Cornwall whether there are problems, with Penzance Tesco described as "rammed" yet Texaco in St Erth was "empty."

It started being a problem up the country earlier in the day, with long queues at fuel stations in Dorset, and judging by the comments coming out this lunchtime they're not alone in other parts of the UK.

Throughout the day the Transport Secretary has tried to dissuade drivers from panic buying petrol, after BP was forced to close down a "handful" of its forecourts.

Grant Shapps said that motorists should “carry on as normal", while a Government spokesperson said: “There is no shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal.

“We recognise the challenges facing industry and have already taken action to increase the supply of HGV drivers, including streamlining the process for new drivers and increasing the number of driving tests.

“We continue to closely monitor labour supply and work with sector leaders to understand how we can best ease particular pinch points.”

It's a message echoed by motoring organisation The AA, which has told drivers not to “fill up outside of their normal routines” as petrol stations across the UK see huge queues at forecourts as drivers rush to get petrol following warnings.

BP revealed on Thursday that it has been forced to close a "handful" of petrol stations across the UK amid the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers.

Ministers faced fresh pressure to ease immigration rules as an emergency measure to attract HGV drivers from overseas amid warnings that 100,000 more were needed across the industry.


The AA has said that most of the UK's forecourts are working as they should, with president Edmund King saying: "There is no shortage of fuel and thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems.

"Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.

"Drivers should not fill up outside their normal routines because, even if the occasional petrol station is temporarily closed, others just down the road will be open."