Shutdown rumors prompt run on British pumps

| Thursday, September 15, 2005

In a situation similar to what happened in Arkansas in August, rumors of a shutdown protest among British truck drivers sparked the public to rush to fuel stations late on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Prices surged close to $10 a gallon (in U.S. dollars), and as many as 3,000 of the nation’s 10,000 gas stations were forced to close as their pumps ran dry, according to news reports.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg news reported that oil companies in the United Kingdom were working quickly to replenish supplies at the stations on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Earlier in the week, truckers in Britain were threatening to shutdown as soon as Friday if the government didn’t do something about the rising cost of fuel, especially in taxes.

British fuel taxes – which account for about 70 percent of prices at the pump – are the highest in the European Union.

Bloomberg said that a lobbying group called Less Tax on Fuel was asking the government to cut the taxes. The group said Welsh truckers would start a slow-moving convoy in west Britain on Friday, Sept. 16. The group also said similar protests could occur on highways surrounding London.

Meanwhile, the rest of the EU is looking for ways to divert similar protests in their own countries. Bloomberg reported that protests were planned by truckers in France and Belgium, and by gas station operators in Italy.

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