As petrol stations nationwide begin to run out of fuel, mass panic has naturally begun to ensue. With a lack of guidance, many are struggling with the uncertainty and have been panic buying as a result. But what is this shortage a result of? And are there any solutions?
To cut a long story short, the reason behind the lack of fuel is due to a lack of HGV drivers.
"The industry estimates there is a gap of 100,000 lorry drivers partly due to Covid and partly Brexit. About 25,000 HGV drivers from the EU left during 2020 and did not return, and there is a backlog of 40,000 waiting to take their HGV tests."
Despite the government advising people not to over consume, mass buy fuel and to carry on as normal - the public can't seem to digest this information. Especially, given that so many of our lives have had to face interruptions due to this crisis.
"Sarah Jane Barnes, from Berkshire, told the BBC that her elderly mother had missed two out of three dialysis appointments because health workers were unable to get enough fuel to reach her."
Evidently the impact on people's lives is severe and should not be met with ignorance, it is important to note that many cannot receive the care they so desperately need due to the temporary closures of many petrol stations.
But are there any solutions? Well, over the past week there has been a surge in consumers making inquiries and displaying interest in wanting to make the switch to electric vehicles. Considering EV's as a more convenient mode of transport. Many existing owners of EV's managing to avoid the disruption - being able to charge their vehicles just outside the comfort of their own home. Martin Miller, an Electric Car dealer from Surrey states:
“People buy electric cars for environmental reasons, for cost-saving reasons and because the technology’s great,” he said. “But Friday was one of those moments where people said, ‘Do you know what, this is a sign that we need to go electric’.”
For convenience this is a very advisable step, especially as Electric Cars have far fewer moving parts than a normal petrol or diesel car – thus not requiring as much maintenance. But also from an environmental standpoint, this is a progressive option. Considering that each year the average car will emit 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So, if the majority decide to start switching to electric, then many of us will be reducing our carbon footprint with a significant positive impact on the environment.
Expense – this is the first thing that will spring to many people’s minds during a discussion about switching to electric. In this instance the phrase, short term for long term gain might provide food for thought. In the long run users of electric cars face less expense, as mentioned earlier – electric cars have fewer moving parts, which equates to less financial demands later on.
The government has also initiated a grant scheme to encourage the public towards more sustainable modes of transport. The grant is to assist the costs of implementing charging infrastructures for your EV, more about the scheme can be found here: Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
There is also another scheme at play here, where those aspiring to switch to low emission vehicles could be eligible for up to a £2,500 grant towards a new vehicle. A list of the vehicles that are available through this scheme can be found here: Low-emission vehicles eligible for a plug-in grant - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If this is not cost efficient then there are other options, despite the legislation on electric scooters remaining the same – that they are only able to use presently on private land with the owner’s consent. There are trials taking place, where electric scooters for hire can be used as a means of easily getting from A to B – without fear of having to set off earlier in avoidance of traffic or of said fuel shortages. Another option is an electric bike, reaching reasonable speeds and offering an alternative mode of transport where you can travel efficiently, whilst improving your cardiovascular health.
To discover more about the legislation and trials for Electric Scooters, please visit: E-scooter trials: guidance for users - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Overall there are options, whether that be to switch to an Electric Car or to consider a cheaper option such as a Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV).
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