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Catherine Marsal: The oil panic has spread

There are around 100,000 truck drivers missing in the UK. Over the past six months, this has driven everything from a shortage of merchandise in stores to truck drivers’ wages rising to more than SEK 50,000 a month. Since Thursday, it has also resulted in queues outside several gas stations. To chaos and fighting and people filling spare cans and water bottles with fuel. All this (queues! Mayhem! Fighting! Spare cans!) exacerbated the situation. The fuel panic has spread.

But what is causing the problem?

first theory It is just that people act like fools. There is certainly a shortage of truck drivers in the UK, and Brexit is sure to make it impossible to bring in European labor in the same way as before. But this would not have led to a gasoline crisis. Many debaters say the irrational panic that has struck the country.

If everyone calms down and stops refueling more than they need to, the problems will disappear. Stop blaming everything for Brexit!

But they mean Belonging to the second camp of discussion. Can you really say it doesn’t make sense to stand in line at the pump right now? To fill the tank completely when it is only half full?

Of course, it would be better if no one refueled more than he needed. But if you know that other people are now thinking more than they need to, it makes sense to suddenly do the same.

Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

They also argued that it was also not possible to shy away from Brexit as the primary explanation. The shortage of truck drivers may have been built up over many years and exacerbated by the pandemic, but the fact remains: the gasoline crisis is what it is now because it is not possible to bring in European labor as before.

What’s interesting is that Boris Johnson may rhetorically defend the first theory (that the crisis is caused by an irrational panic) but act in practice as if it were at least a partial cause of Brexit. The Prime Minister has temporarily opened up 5,000 short-term visas for foreign drivers. Thus, he somewhat acknowledges that Brexit, while not created by the situation, at least exacerbates it.

But does the Prime Minister really think that European drivers are standing and hopping on the border eager to get to the UK on a meager three-month visa? say his critics.

Yes, the Prime Minister seems to think so.

It is not yet possible to determine whether he is right or not.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Photo: Edna Leshowitz/TT

A short-term visa is not intended to resolve an emergency situation. Here, instead, the military will help and temporarily repealed competition legislation will facilitate the cooperation of oil companies.

Transportation Secretary Grant Scapes On Wednesday, he said he was seeing signs that the worst panic was beginning to subside. After all, there is no infinite amount of gasoline that can fit British cars. It looks like demand should start slowing in the next few days, the government believes.

Instead, the short-term visa is a measure aimed more at stabilizing the transportation system before Christmas shopping.

This time it is gasoline.

Next time, it could be something else.

Read more:

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