Petrol Queues Cost Drivers £1000s

And waste fuel by the car load

12 June 2008

Drivers queuing at petrol stations for fear of shortages could collectively lose thousands of pounds and waste tonnes of fuel needlessly, warns the AA. While most of the UK kept its head yesterday, drivers in a few areas queued unnecessarily.

Fuel for Thought

  • a warmed-up petrol car uses three-quarters of a litre of fuel every hour it sits stationary with its engine running;
  • with UK petrol averaging 117.28 pence per litre yesterday, the car loses 1.5p in wasted petrol every minute;
  • one car sitting in a queue for 20 minutes adds 30 pence to its fuel bill, or another penny a litre for a half-tank top-up;
  • 100 cars queuing 20 minutes waste £30 in fuel and deprive another driver of half a tank of fuel;
  • 1000 cars queuing 20 minutes waste £300 and force five cars to find their petrol elsewhere.

AA advice

"Unnecessary queuing to top up your tank is counter-productive as you will waste fuel. The typical petrol tank gives a car a range of 400 miles – if you normally fill up once every three or four weeks and have a fairly full tank, joining the line for a petrol station doesn't make much sense," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"Even those drivers whose tanks are heading towards needing a refill should consider coming back at a less busy time, if they have a petrol station within a mile of where they live, rather than wasting half a litre of fuel queuing for half an hour or more.

"When the Coryton refinery in Essex caught fire last autumn and disrupted 20 per cent of the UK's petrol and diesel supply, the petroleum industry kept the South East supplied for six weeks. There was no panic-buying because petrol stations that ran out of fuel were re-stocked either later on in the day or the following one. An industrial dispute affecting just one in 10 petrol stations is no reason to queue unnecessarily, and waste fuel and money."

AA Public Affairs - the voice of UK motorists


12 June 2008