Whoever you blame for this recent spate of fuel panic buying, all parties involved seem determined to bring chaos to Britain as it did in 2000. Last time there was a fuel shortage schools had to close, people didn’t go to work, queues for petrol ran into the miles, businesses struggled and the emergency services were crippled. This time the Government is more prepared this time and will bring the Army in to make sure the front line and emergency services won’t be affected. But what will the rest of the country do in the event of fuel shortages and how would our industry cope?

If you’re a manufacturer then you may be already thinking of buying up extra fuel supplies to counter-act any possible shortages to make sure your products arrive to your customers on time. But with the cost of fuel going up, is this going to make a costly dent in your reserves?

If you’re an installer, the effects will be felt on your staff and your customers. People still need to try and get to work, fitters need to fit, salesmen need to sell and customers still need to come to the showroom. We all need fuel to be able to do this. That is when economical driving becomes a must to eek out as much fuel from your tank as possible. No turbo-style driving, nice smooth gear changes etc etc. However you can’t force people in through the door, so hopefully your customer base is local and you’re within walking distance of most of your consumers!

According to experts, the last fuel crisis did cause the economy real damage, and this was during a time when the economy was on the rise. This time round, the economy is fragile and doesn’t need any shocks which could cause serious and long term damage.

The strikes this time are over health and safety issues for tanker drivers rather than fuel prices. So it seems a little ironic that fuel and drivers are the ones that should suffer. Of course if the Government hadn’t caused people to panic buy yesterday and today then we wouldn’t have to be thinking in such dramatic terms.

It would be interesting to hear from suppliers on this issue and how they would deal with any potential fuel problems.