By Marcus Leach

People are panic buying fuel throughout the country as fear of running out grips the nation as the possibility of a fuel tanker driver strike moves ever closer.

Figures from RMI Petrol, the independent retailers group, show that demand for petrol on Thursday rose by 172%, with diesel up by 77%.

The government, however, who are working on a contingency plan should the strike go ahead, denied that their advice to top of tanks had caused widespread panic buying.

“The Government has failed to recognise the implications of the destruction of large parts of our retail fuels network," Brian Madderson, RMI Petrol Chairman, said.

"Perhaps now the seriousness of the situation will force them to re-consider their strategic direction insofar as the UK’s Energy Resilience is concerned.”

In some areas of the country petrol stations ran dry, but retailers said they were coping and normal deliveries would ensure supplies were replenished.

However, with 90% of UK stations fuelled by Unite union's drivers, any strike action could prove costly to the economy.

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