More than nine in 10 forecourts in most of the country are now stocked with both petrol and diesel but some parts are still struggling to recover from the fuel crisis, according to industry data.
Figures from the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA), which represents thousands of independent operators, showed London and the South East had 71% of forecourts stocked with both grades of fuel compared to 91% elsewhere.
The PRA also questioned the effectiveness of a recent government decision to suspend competition rules between major oil companies, a measure designed to help ease the crisis.
The latest figures showed that in London and the South East, 13% of forecourts were “dry” while 16% stocked just one grade of fuel.
In the rest of the country, just 5% were dry and 4% had one grade.
The crisis began nearly two weeks ago when a handful of petrol stations were closed as a result of a shortage of fuel tanker drivers, news of which prompted panic-buying across the country and saw pumps run dry.
It prompted the government to draft in the army to help, while ministers also eased competition laws on the sector to help rivals coordinate supplies and announced thousands of temporary visas to allow foreign lorry drivers to work in the UK.
The PRA, whose members represent about two-thirds of all UK forecourts, said continuing problems in London and the South East were leaving some motorists “continuing to feel insecure about fuel availability at their local neighbourhood filling stations”.
Gordon Balmer, the PRA’s executive director, said that government attempts to deal with the crisis had thus far had “only limited success in London and the South East” and that more attention on addressing the crisis in the region was “urgently needed”.
He added: “Independent forecourts report a complete lack of visibility as to when their next delivery might arrive, and some have been dry for four days and still waiting for a delivery.
“We have yet to see any explanation from the government of the benefits arising from the suspension of competition law between the major oil companies in the delivery of downstream fuel.
“We need to restore a competitive market with incentives for those who deliver on the job.”