No need to panic-buy petrol, motorists told

25-04-2008

No need to panic-buy petrol, motorists told
Motorists have been told not to buy more petrol than they need in anticipation of a strike planned at Scotland's Grangemouth refinery on Sunday.

Trade secretary John Hutton told the House of Commons that increased imports would counter the effect of the refinery's closure, which is in the process of shutting down ahead of the strike.

BP, which operates the Forties pipeline that supplies the site, also said it would have to shut down supply due to safety issues.

Workers are striking in response to pension changes planned by the plant's owners, Ineos.

The refinery processes about 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day and supplies most of Scotland's demand for fuel.

An AA spokesman warned motorists not to panic buy as there is plenty of fuel available.

The spokesman said: "There is absolutely no reason for the fuel to run out. When the oil refinery in Essex went on fire last year, the industry was able to maintain supply.

"Where we do get into problems is when people do panic buy, and we have seen some areas where people have gone mad."

The AA said panic-buying could push fuel prices up as petrol stations, keen to avoid supplies running out due to a surge in demand, increase their prices to deter motorists from buying.

"I would not call this profiteering, I would call this defending their stocks," the spokesman added.

Fuel prices are also likely to go up in Scotland because retailers will be forced to import from elsewhere.

The AA advised people to bear in mind that queuing up to buy petrol will waste money in itself and it would be better to try other stations first.

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