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Quarter of Brits admit to panic-buying fuel in chaos

Close to a quarter (24%) of UK drivers have admitted to joining the queues to fill up their tanks in the continuing fuel chaos, despite being urged to buy fuel as normal.

Fuel pumps

Millions of drivers have fallen victim to the hysteria and headed to the petrol pumps in recent days

The research, published today by used car finance company Choosemycar.com, showed millions of drivers fell victim to the hysteria and headed to the petrol pumps after media hype of fuel station closures and rationing.

Interestingly, men have said they’re more likely to take action, with 26% heading to the pumps, compared to 22% of women.

The trend is higher among younger drivers too – 37% of those aged 18-34 admitted to filling up, while just 22% of the 35-54 age bracket took action and just 17% of the over-55s.

There were also variations geographically. Regionally, the West Midlands and Greater London were most likely to fill up, both seeing 37% admitting to running to the petrol stations. In contrast, the Yorkshire and Humber region was more relaxed, with just 17% taking action. London and Birmingham saw 31% of drivers take action to fill up, while 28% of people in Manchester and Glasgow headed to the pumps because of the panic.

The research has been revealed as latest media coverage shows drivers fighting in petrol station queues and even filling water bottles or bin bags with fuel, despite growing evidence of key workers struggling to fill their own vehicles.

The research from Choosemycar also revealed that 45% of drivers say they will now keep their tanks over half full because of potential shortages and half of drivers (50%) are changing their car usage habits to conserve fuel.

Its analysis also reinforces ongoing evidence that the fuel chaos is driving interest in electric cars. Choosemycar has seen a 37% increase in searches for electric cars week-on-week and 25% of people have said they are more likely to look to buy an electric car as their next car due to costs and potential shortages of fuel.

Nick Zapolski, founder of Choosemycar.com, said: “Although we were told there actually was no shortage of fuel, the long queues and endless stations running out was enough to send a quarter of us to the pumps.

“It just shows how reliant we have all become on our cars and the anxiety it creates when we believe we might not have access to one. It shows the importance of having a reliable, working car and the impact they have on our lives – and perhaps will spark renewed interest in electric vehicles in the future.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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